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2016

Welcome Guide

You are about to come to London?


You are already a Londoner and are planning to move?

Lettings
Short Lets
Acquisitions
Installation
Consulting

Whether you speak english, french, german or italian,


our international and dedicated team is here to find your home sweet home,
advise you on the best locations and assist you during the whole process
The extra milealways with a smile!

Willkommen London

French
Touch
Properties

Dolce Vita

Rufen Sie uns an, wir kmmern uns um Alles!

Appelez-nous, on soccupe de tout!

Chiamaci, ci occuperemo noi di tutto!

Properties

Properties

+44 (0) 2089940447

+44 (0) 2089940447

+44 (0) 2089940447

info@willkommenlondonproperties.com

segolene@frenchtouchproperties.com

info@dolcevita-properties.com

www.willkommenlondonproperties.com

www.frenchtouchproperties.com

www.dolcevita-properties.com

Important Numbers
Important telephone numbers
Dial 999 for EMERGENCY (Police, Fire, Ambulance)
Operator Assistance UK

100

Operator Assistance International

155

Directory Enquiries, London

118500

Directory Enquiries, International

118505

Speaking Clock

123

ACS Hillingdon International School 01895 259771


www.acs-schools.com/acs-hillingdon
01895 259771

Welcome Guide

ACS Hillingdon Housing Office


mhand@acs-england.co.uk

This guide is kindly sponsored by


Sigillus and Nanny & Butler.
www.sigillus.com
+ 44 (0)207 221 9444
www.nannybutler.com
+ 44 (0)207 221 4010

Welcome
Welcome to ACS Hillingdon International School!
We hope you find the information in this Welcome Guide useful and it helps you and
your family to quickly settle in your new home and school.
Arriving in a new country and beginning a new school is a time rich with opportunities.
Your arrival at ACS Hillingdon may be one, or both, of these experiences for you and
your family, and we want you to know we will do all we can to help you settle in.
As a new Hillingdon family, there will be a period of adjustment for you and we will
do everything we can to assist you. If this is your first international school experience,
it is especially important to realise that some things will be quite different than they
were in your previous school. In addition to the differences, there will be many new
marvellous opportunities and experience that await you. Our PTSA (Parent Teacher
School Association) Welcome Team is available to provide valuable assistance as
you settle into your new home and school, and this is a great way to get to know
other parents.
We look forward to working with you to ensure you and your children make the most
of the ACS Hillingdon experience. Enjoy your first year and welcome again!
Best wishes,

Welcome Guide

ACS Hillingdon Faculty and Staff

Contents
2

About this guide


2 Important Telephone Numbers
4 Welcome to ACS Hillingdon
International School

About ACS Hillingdon


8 About this Guide
8 Important ACS Hillingdon
Contacts
9 What to Do FirstFor
Newcomers to the UK
9 What to Do FirstFor Parents
10 FAQs About ACS Hillingdon
Parent Teacher Student
Organisation
11 Transportation
12 Busing Map
13 Health and Safety/Security
13 After School Activities
13 At School General
15 ACS Intranet
15 ACS Hillingdon Dictionary

23 Community
24 Adult Education
24 Area Councils
24 Citizens Advice Bureau
24 Household Donations
25 Language Schools
25 Legal Issues
26 Notary Public
26 Libraries
26 Places of Worship
26 Post Offices
27 Womens Clubs and
Other Organisations

31 Daily Life
32 Setting Up a House in the UK
32 Electricity/Light Bulbs/Plugs
32 Household Appliances
33 Hard Water
33 Discounts/Vouchers
34 Passes/Savings

35 Tipping/Gratuity
36 Family Days Out
37 Weekend Trip Ideas
37 Embassies
42 Conversions
43 Weight and Measurement
44 Temperature
45 American to British Translation
51 Reading List | Websites
53 Healthcare
54 For Any Emergency
54 National Health Service
54 Helpful Websites
55 Helpful Terminology
55 Private Health Care
56 Hospitals
56 Paediatricians
57 Doctors
57 Dentists
58 Opticians
58 Orthodontists
58 Pharmacies/Chemists
59 Travel Clinics | Walk-in Clinics
60 Housing/Utilities
61 Renting/Buying
Finding Housing
61 Finding Estate/Letting Agents
62 Area Councils | Council Tax
62 Electricity
63 Phone Services
65 Mobile Phones
66 Plumbing and Heating
66 Removal Companies
66 Rubbish Collection/Recycling
Centres
67 Television
68 Utilities
70 Recreation
71 Things to Do
71 American Football
71 Amusement Parks

72 Baseball
72 Birthday Parties
73 Birthday Party Supplies
74 Bowling
74 Cinemas
75 Dance Classes
75 Football
75 Golf Courses
75 Gymnastics Classes
76 Health Clubs, Sports Facilities,
Leisure Centres

76 Horse Riding

76 Ice Skating and Ice Hockey

77 Moms & Tots Groups

77 Music Lessons
78 Rowing
78 Rugby

78 Strategic Games
78 Swimming
79 Tennis
80 Theatres
82 Restaurants

83 Favourite Restaurants

83 Pizza Delivery
87 Services/Business

88 Babysitters/Nanny/
Childcare Agencies
88 Banking

90 Car Valeting

90 Cross-Cultural Training

90 Furniture Rental

90 Insurance Companies
91 Newsagents

91 Online Directories

91 Passport Photos
91 Pets

92 Pet Insurance

92 Dog Walking/Training/Sitters

92 Travel Insurance

92 Post Office

93 Shopping

94 Antique Markets

94 Areas for Shopping

97 Camping/Skiing/Hiking Stores

97 Childrens Clothing

97 Childrens Toys

98 Craft Shops

98 Do It Yourself

98 Electrical Appliance Stores
98 Farmers Markets
99 Gifts

99 Grocery Stores

100 Speciality Food

101 Home Furnishings

101 Paper Goods/Stationery

102 School Supplies

102 Sheet Music and Instruments

102 Sporting Goods/Apparel
103 Transport

104 Driving

105 General Driving Tips

105 Driving Licence

106 Driving Instructors

107 Auto Insurance

107 Breakdown Insurance

108 Car Servicing/Repairs

108 Parking

109 London Congestion Charge

109 Tips for Driving on the
European Continent

110 Airports | Airport Parking

110 Public Transport

112 Car Rentals

113 Taxis/Private Car Services
114 Culture Shock

115 How to Survive Culture Shock

Welcome Guide

Community

About ACS Hillingdon

About this Guide


This book was created by the Building Bridges transition team at ACS Cobham
International School to support new families and staff, with special thanks to the parent
organisations at ACS Hillingdon International School and ACS Egham International School
for their willingness to share the information from their campus welcome books.
The CRG members contact information is on the PTSA pages of the ACS Intranet. If you
have any questions, please contact an ACS member of staff or a PTSA Welcome
Team member.

Important ACS Hillingdon Contacts


Main Switchboard (Monday-Friday)

01895 259771

Head of School

01895 259771
spadalino@acs-schools.com
tpearce@acs-schools.com
llapine@acs-schools.com

Lower School
Debbie Murphy, Lower School Secretary
Michelle Eriksen, Lower School Principal

Middle School
Jacqui Henderson, Middle School Secretary
Jed Petsinger, Middle School Principal

High School
Gina Ayranci, High School Secretary
Ann Prowse, High School Secretary
Chris Green, Assistant High School Principal
Dawn Ekstrom, High School Principal

Transport
Michael Williams, Transport Manager
Maxine Hand, Transport /
Admissions Secretary

01895 816811
dmurphy@acs-schools.com
meriksen@acs-schools.com
01895 816819
jhenderson@acs-schools.com
jpetsinger@acs-schools.com
01895 816812
gayranci@acs-schools.com
aprowse@acs-schools.com
cgreen@acs-schools.com
dekstrom@acs-schools.com
01895 816803
mwilliams2@acs-schools.com
mhand@acs-schools.com

Medical Centre/School Nurse

01895 816810

Security Lodge

01895 816807
mrichards@acs-schools.com

Malcolm Richards, Security Manager

ACS Egham
Welcome
Guide
Insiders Guide

Sara Padalino, Head of Schools PA


Tracy Pearce Head of Schools Secretary
Linda LaPine, Head of School

About ACS Hillingdon


To email someone at the school, the format is usually:
firstinitiallastname@acs-schools.com (example: llapine@acs-schools.com).

What to do first for newcomers to the UK


1. Find your closest hospital with an A&E (Accident & Emergency/Emergency Room)
by entering your postcode at: www.nhs.uk/england/hospitals
2. Register with your local GP (General Practitioner).
Find your nearest NHS physicians atwww.nhsdirect.nhs.uk
3. Get a mobile phone. Check the Housing and Utilities section of this Welcome
Guide for advice on mobile phones in the UK.
4. Schedule appointments for telephone, internet, gas, electricity and water services,
as well as getting a TV Licence.
Check the Housing and Utilities section of this Welcome Guide for more information.
5. Purchase car insurance and get information about driving in the UK.
Check the Transport section of this Welcome Guide for more information.
6. Purchase a detailed street map book (A-Z) for your local area at a bookshop
or newsagent.
Use www.yell.com and www.upmystreet.com to find services in your local area.

What to do first for parents


1. Forms Online
You will be sent an email explaining that you need to send the school information
about the family and the students, plus lots of information to read. There will be
a link on this email that will take you to the application. Please complete all the
information that is asked for and carefully read all the required documents.
This information is required prior to starting at the school.
2. Purchase school supplies
Each school division (Lower School, Middle School, High School) will provide a list
of supplies in the online summer mailing.

3. Purchase PE (Physical Education) uniform and kit


Each school division (Lower School, Middle School, High School) will provide this
information in the online summer mailing.
4. Check your access to ACS Intranet
Obtain your Username and Password for ACS Hillingdons ACS Intranet from
Admissions. Your ACS Intranet ID is your student account number. Once you have
enrolled and paid your fees, you will be provided with a password.
What is ACS Intranet and why is it essential for life at ACS?
ACS Intranet is a combined intranet and extranet for staff, parents and students
of ACS. This is a restricted network that enables ACS to share information with
the ACS community such as school calendars and school news. You can only
access it with an ACS Intranet ID and password. It was set up to:



Support education delivery.


Streamline work processes.
Provide a channel to enable better communication.
Encourage access and management of data and the ability to share information.

5. Activate School Lunch Account


Go to ACS Intranet and select catering where there is a Upay link. Complete all
the information and submit to create your account.
6. Check the ACS Hillingdon Campus calendar of events on ACS Intranet
Go to ACS Intranet to ACS Hillingdon and you will see a full school activities link.
7. Check out the PTSA (Parent Teacher Student Association) information on
ACS Intranet:
Go to ACS Intranet at ACS Hillingdon where there is a PTSA web link on the top of
the navigation.

What is the PTSA?


The PTSA stands for Parent Teacher Student Association. Its Board is composed of
a volunteer group of parents that meet once a month to discuss current topics and
liaise closely with the school administration. Members are elected annually and
can serve two years in each position. A list of Board positions and who currently
occupies them can be found on the PTSA Pages on ACS Intranet.

Welcome Guide

FAQs about ACS Hillingdon Parent Teacher Student Association

10

About ACS Hillingdon


What is a CRG?
The CRG stands for Country Representative Group and consists of Country
Representatives for around 40 different nationalities. They support a variety
of international events, flag-raisings and our Native Language Programme.
What is the difference between a Liaison and CRG?
Most liaisons represent a grade level or division. The Country Representatives
represent her/his native country within the CRG and the CRG Liaison is part of
the PTSA Board. All liaisons are Board positions.
Liaisons: who are mine?
There are Liaisons for various functions: The grade level/divisional Liaisons are
the parent representatives for each grade in the Middle and High School and in
the Lower School, and the entire Division. They meet regularly with the divisional
heads and organise grade level/divisional events. In addition, the PTSA Board includes
Liaisons for the Performing Arts, Welcoming and Athletics.
How can I get involved?
The PTSA Board and its Committees are always looking for volunteers. A good place
to learn about and sign up for activities is at the various grade level coffees early
in the school year. Or contact your grade level or divisional liaison any time!

Transportation
What types of bus transportation are there?
ACS Hillingdon primarily operates a student Door-to-Door Service, which picks up
your child/children from outside your house in the morning and drops off again after
leaving the school at 3:25pm Monday through Friday. Dismissal is at 3:15pm. This
service is available for all students from Pre-K upwards. There is also an Express
Shuttle Service, which pick up students from various shuttle points in the morning
and after school. A list of the shuttle points can be obtained from Mick Williams in
the Transportation Office (mwilliams2@acs-schools.com).
Late bus: how, where, when, route, and does it cost money?
The Late Bus Service is a free bookable service that drops students off at various drop-off
points. These buses will depart ACS at 5:00pm Monday through Thursday. This service is
offered to all students from Grade 1 upwards. We also have a late bus service at 6:00pm
for High School students on Mondays and Fridays. A list of the drop off points can be
obtained from Mick Williams in the Transportation Office (mwilliams2@acs-schools.com).
ACS Hillingdon busing route
The blue shading, in the following map, shows the area the bus service covers.

11

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Y N

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HI

Newgate Street

Bayford

Bayford

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East
E Southgate
N
Lower
Barnet
Chingford
Specially produced
of HarperCollinsPublishers
Ltd.
A by Collins, an imprintEdmonton
B 11
Oakleigh L OSI
B154
A O URN1 Collins 2015, 0141ST306
REET 3752
Park SSEL
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ACS Egham
Welcome
Guide
Insiders Guide

ROW
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12

About ACS Hillingdon


Health and Safety/Security on campus
What are the after-school rules on campus?
Lower School and Middle School students are NOT allowed to remain on campus
unsupervised. The Homework Club or the Library offer supervised areas after school.
Please contact the librarians in each division for opening hours.
Where is the nurse?
The medical office is located across the Lower School office.

After-school activities
After school: what is available?
Lower School, Middle School and High School have their own offering of After-School
Clubs and Activities and it is best to consult the Divisional Section of ACS Intranet to
find out. In addition, the Divisional Libraries are open after school please contact the
librarians in each division for opening hours. Homework Clubs may be offered (check
with each division). There are also seasonal sports offerings for High School and
Middle School students (and, to some extent, Lower School now) for which training
takes place after school.
How do I sign up for after school sports?
Postings for try-outs for the various school sports will be in the School Calendar.
Contact the Sports Department for any inquiries.
How do I find out about the Native Language Enrichment (NLE) programme?
The NLE programme is a free language enrichment programme for native speakers.
It is also available to internationally adopted children who have been studying the
language of their birth. Please contact the Head of School office for more information.

At school General
Do the students have a dress code?
There is no specific dress code at ACS, but guidelines for appropriate clothing are
published in the various divisional handbooks.
Class lists: how do I get a class list?
It is best to contact your divisional secretary or Grade Level Liaison for information.
Conferences: how do I sign up and which day am I on?
There is a new online sign-up system in place now for Middle School and High School;
a link will be posted on ACS Intranet a couple of weeks ahead of the conference date.

13

This allows you to pick the teacher and time slot you would like to secure online.
Your divisional secretary will send you a note to advise when booking opens. In Lower
School, you will receive a letter from the divisional secretary with sign-up instructions.
What do I do with my children during parent/teacher conferences?
Please check with your childs school division for guidance on the usual procedure, as
sometimes students are expected or required to attend and other times they may not.
What is the MAP test? What happens with the scores?
MAP stands for Measures of Academic Progress and is a standardised test available
in Reading, Language Use, Mathematics and Science. It provides a continuous
roadmap as to where each student is performing relative to curriculum or other
standards and is used as an internal assessment tool to help educators develop
targeted instructional strategies. The test is dynamically built, based on the
achievement level of every student and is untimed; results are given immediately.
Because the data can be looked at historically and is consistent from season to
season, growth can be measured and could be used as a placement tool in Middle
School and High School.
What are IB, AP, NHS and SAT?
These are various terms used in the High School for either: a diploma, degree, test
or society.
The IB is an acronym for the International Baccalaureate, the AP for US Advanced
Placement Courses, the NHS is the National Honour Society and SAT stands for
Standard Aptitude Test which is a Test required by most US universities.
How do I complain if I see inappropriate behaviour by students on campus?
It is best to contact your Grade Level Liaison they will raise the issue with the
Divisional Head and make sure you receive feedback.

Where can I get school supplies (off campus)?


Throughout the London area there are school-supplies stores and most supermarkets
have a decent section.

Welcome Guide

Is there a supply list for High School?


Each division will have its own requirements and students are expected
to provide the appropriate material.

14

About ACS Hillingdon


ACS Intranet
What is my ACS Intranet ID?
Your ACS Intranet ID is your student account number. Once you have enrolled and
paid your fees, you will be provided with a password.
Where do I find a list of teachers emails?
Each division has a directory posted on ACS Intranet, and some have a staff
directory. If individual teachers cannot be located, email the divisional secretaries
with your request. Email addresses are usually in the format: Firstinitial+LastName@
acs-schools.com. For example, John Smith would be JSmith@acs-schools.com
My ACS Intranet ID doesnt work: who do I call?
You could email forum@acs-schools.com or call the front desk at 01932 867 251
and ask for the IT department.
How can I find staff and parent directories?
The staff directories are on ACS Intranet on the ACS Hillingdon page. On each parents
landing page on ACS Intranet there is a link to a fully searchable parent directory.

ACS Hillingdon dictionary


Word Explanation
Academic Principal Directs the planning, delivery and ongoing
improvement of curriculum, assessment and
instructional practices within the school.
ACS Intranet Intranet/extranet for ACS schools
communication with students, parents
and staff.
Alumni Students who have previously attended ACS.
Advanced Placement (AP) US university-level courses taught in
High School.
Artist-in-Residence Programme bringing artists and other
professionals to ACS to work with
students, parents or teachers.
Assembly, Lower School Grade-level assemblies are performances or
academic activities presented by the students,
which parents may be invited to attend.

15

Assembly, Middle School/High School Grade-level or whole school division


meetings for sharing information or
presenting awards, which parents may
be invited to attend.
Bank Holiday No school; banks, post offices and some
local shops will be closed.
Boy scouts

Programme for boys aged 11-18.

Buddy Parent/family that volunteers to help a


new family settle in at ACS.
Cafeteria

Dining hall for students and staff.

Campus All of the schools grounds (fenced in). It is


a closed campus with 24-hour security.
Campus Calendar The main calendar with all activities,
events and meetings for school year.
Centre for Inspiring Minds (CIM) CIM supports collaborations with staff
to improve education at all ACS schools.
Creative Active Service (CAS) As part of the IB Diploma, students must
complete a programme of minimum
180 hours total over Grades 11 and 12
in sports, charity work, etc.
Chaperone An adult (staff, parent) supervising field
trips, parties, dances, etc.

College workshop High School informational meetings


for parents and students regarding
preparation for university.
Core subjects/classes The academic subjects in each division,
usually Maths, LA, Social Studies, Language;
different from Specials or Extras.

Welcome Guide

Coffee morning An informational meeting with


refreshments for parents.

16

About ACS Hillingdon


Counsellor One counsellor in each division for
Lower School and Middle School to
provide primarily social and emotional
support for students, and two counsellors
in High School providing pastoral,
academic and college/university
counselling.
Country Rep A parent representing his/her country as a
member of the CRG.
Country Representative Group (CRG) Group formed by parents representing most
countries of origin of ACS students; part of
PTSA and helps support new families.
Credit In High School a course that meets
daily during the school year is worth
one credit towards High School
graduation requirements.
Cub scout

Boy scouts from Grades 1-5.

Disaster Relief Fund (DRF) School-wide charity committee with


student, staff and parent members.
Organises fundraising and immediate
support to international aid organisations
when disasters occur around the world.
Informs and educates ACS community as
part of our role as global citizens to help
those in need.
Division/divisional There are three divisions in the school:
Lower School, Middle School and High
School. Each has a divisional office.
Dress code Each division in the school provides
guidance for how students are expected
to dress at school.
English as an Additional Language (EAL) Extra English language support for
students with limited English ability.

17

Field Trip Students travel to museums, theatre, etc.


Usually by bus.
Field trip dress Middle School and High School students
are required to dress appropriately for field
trips off-campus and some special events
on-campus, such as Career Day.
Freshman

Grade 9 student.

Girl Scouts

Programme for girls aged 11-18.

Hawk School mascot; the hawk name and logo


is used especially by sports teams.
Head of School The ACS Hillingdon staff member
responsible for all three school
divisions (Lower School, Middle School,
High School).
Homeroom (HR) The class that students meet with
each morning for announcements
and attendance.

Homeroom/HR teacher The teacher responsible for a


homeroom of students that meet
on a daily/weekly schedule.
HR advisor In Middle School the HR teachers also
serve as advisors to the students in
their homerooms.
High School

High School, Grades 9-12.

International Baccalaureate (IB) Two-year diploma programme taken by


some students in Grades 11 and 12.

ACS Egham
Welcome
Guide
Insiders Guide

Homeroom/HR coordinator
One or two parents from each HR;
(room parent) organises HR coffee meeting, parent
involvement and communication from
the HR teacher and school to the parents
in the HR. The PTSA liaison for each grade
level chooses the HR coordinator.

18

About ACS Hillingdon


Ice Cream Social PTSA-sponsored event at start of school
year to welcome new families to the
school with free ice cream and games
for the children.
In-service day No school for students, training sessions
for staff.
Interim report

Quarterly report on each students progress.

ISST International School Sports Tournament


for varsity student athletes.
Junior

Grade 11 student.

Junior Varsity (JV) High School student sports teams,


sometimes might include Middle School
students on the teams.
K

Kindergarten, 5-6 year old students.

Language Arts (LA) English language and literature class in


Middle School.
Learning support (formerly Resource) Individual/small group learning support
provided for students needing extra help
with literacy, maths or English language.
Liaison PTSA parent representative of a school
division or parent group, such Grade 9
liaison or CRG liaison. Acts as a link
between PTSA, parents and school.
Locker Lower School students each have their
own un-locked cupboard for personal
belongings. Middle School and High
School students each have a locker in the
hallway and are given a key to keep
belongings safe.
Lower School Lower School, PreK-Grade 4.

19

LSSA

London School Sports Association.

MAP Measures of Academic Progress, an online


assessment taken by all students across all
campuses of ACS from Grades 2-10 twice
a year (in fall and spring).
Medical Office (Nurse) Medical office for all students on
campus staffed by a nurse near
Lower School office.
Middle School

Middle School, Grades 5-8.

Native Language Enrichment (NLE) Lessons for students with a native


language other than English.
Nurse (Medical Office)

See Medical Office.

OFSTED
The inspectorate for children and learners
(Office for Standard in Education) in England; contributes to the provision
of better education through inspections
and regulations.
Open House Informational evenings for parents held
by each division (Lower School, Middle
School, High School) at start of each
school year.
Orientation Day Important informational day(s) right
before school starts in August; class lists
are posted, students meet, get schedules
and find classrooms.

Pre-K

Pre-Kindergarten, 4-5 year old students.

Pitch The large grass playing field in the back


of the school.
Principal Head of Lower School, Middle School or
High School.

Welcome Guide

Pot luck A social event in which each person brings


a food dish to share with others.

20

About ACS Hillingdon


Prom Formal High School dance, held in spring
for students in Grades 9-12.
PSAT Test taken by all High School Grade 10
(Preliminary Scholastic Aptitude Test)
students in October.
Parent Teacher Student Association All parents and staff at ACS Hillingdon are
(PTSA) automatically members of this group.
The PTSA Board leads the PTSA.
PTSA Board The elected leadership of the PTSA who
organise activities and events to support
students, parents and staff as well as
communicate with the school staff about
parent ideas and concerns.
Recess Free play time for students before/after
lunch. May also mean school holiday break.
Report card Quarterly school reports for each
students progress.
Resource (now Learning Support) Individual/small group learning support
provided for students needing extra help
with literacy, maths or English language.
Room parent/coordinator

See Homeroom Coordinator.

SAT (Scholastic Aptitude Test) US test taken for university/college


admissions by Grade 11 and 12 students;
may be taken more than once.
School colours

Blue and white.

Security lodge The small lodge at main school entrance


with security staff.
Senior

Grade 12 student.

Sophomore

Grade 10 student.

Specials/Special area classes Other than core subject classes; specialist


teacher classes in art, music, computers, etc.

21

Staff Appreciation Parents sponsor an event with


refreshments to show appreciation
for school staff, organised by PTSA.
Student Study Team/ Student
In Lower School, Middle School and High
Support Team (SST) School the SST groups meet regularly to
review and decide on actions to support
students individual academic, social or
emotional needs.
Student Council Students elected by their peers form a
council in Middle School and High School.
They organise parties, dances and charity
events. A teacher advises each council.
Sunshine Hospitality PTSA committee person who sends cards
and gifts to members of school community
in case of illness, death, new baby, etc.
Try-outs, Sports/Drama Scheduled right after school on designated
days before seasonal sports teams begin or
dramatic performance rehearsals. Students
demonstrate their skills to earn a place on
team/performance.
Varsity (V)

Our highest-level competing sports teams.

Welcome Coffee Informational social event for new


parents; one in August and one in
January sponsored by the PTSA; a great
opportunity to meet other parents.

Yearbook End-of-year books produced by Lower


School, Middle School and High School
with photos of all students and their
activities during the school year. Each
student receives a book and they write
messages in each others books.

Welcome Guide

Welcome Team PTSA parent volunteer group whose main


purpose is to ease the transition of new
families starting at the school.

22

Community

23

Adult education
Check with your council for local options or you can try:
The National Careers Service
www.direct.gov.uk/NationalCareersService
The Open University
www.open.ac.uk

Area councils
The local District Council Office is equivalent in the US to the Town Hall, and takes
care of community services such as garbage and recycling, building permission,
parking permits and schools. The Council is a good source of information for local
childrens clubs and playgroups. You can find your local council by entering your
postcode or street and town at:
www.gov.uk/find-your-local-council

Citizens Advice Bureau


The Citizens Advice Bureau helps people resolve their legal, money and other problems
by providing free information and advice. Visit their website for answers to your
questions or to find your local office: www.citizensadvice.org.uk

Household donations
Following are some options for donating your gently used items that are no
longer needed:

Cancer Research UK
www.cancerresearchuk.org
Oxfam
www.oxfam.org.uk
Princess Alice Hospice
www.pah.org.uk

Welcome Guide

British Heart Foundation


www.bhf.org.uk

24

Community
To find charity shops in your area:
www.charityretail.org.uk

Language schools
Many of the Adult Learning sites also offer language classes for adults so look at that
section of this book as well. The local public libraries will also have information about
language classes.
Berlitz
www.berlitz.com
Search for classes in your area.

Legal issues
Children and the Law

Driving
Young drivers must be seventeen years old. Make sure you have car insurance
even for learner drivers.
Alcohol
There are strict laws governing alcohol consumption in the UK and you should
check that you are not breaking the law by allowing your child to drink. At age 16,
your child can buy or be bought beer or cider to drink with a meal, but not in a
bar; only in an area specifically set aside for meals. Except for 16 and 17 year-olds
having a meal in a pub, it is against the law for anyone under 18 to buy alcohol in
a pub, off-licence, supermarket or other retail outlet, or for anyone to buy alcohol
for someone under 18 to consume in a pub or public place. Most pubs serving
meals will welcome children but some pubs do not and have signs: Strictly 18
and over only. For more on drinking rules, go to www.direct.gov.uk in the Parents
section (Your Childs Health).
National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC)
The NSPCC has excellent information on leaving children home alone and
understanding the law on this and childrens safety. The NSPCC operates the
Child Protection Hotline which offers counselling and advice: www.nspcc.org.uk

Leaving Children Alone at Home
There is no legal age limit for leaving children at home alone, but it is an offence
to do so if it places them at risk. The NSPCC suggests that children under the

25

age of 12 are not mature enough to be at home alone and children under age
16 should not be left alone overnight. Parents are also legally responsible for
any criminal act done by a child under the age of 16.
Babysitting Age
There is no legal age for babysitting. However, endangering a child by leaving
them unattended is a criminal offence. The use of common sense is advised.

Notary public
To locate a notary in your area:
www.thenotariessociety.org.uk
The American Embassy offers notary services for which there is a charge
(london.usembassy.gov).

Libraries
To find your local library, enter your postcode at:
www.gov.uk/local-library-services
To obtain a library card, you must present something with your current address
usually a utility bill is easiest. Once you have your library card, you can borrow from
any of the county libraries. The library is also a great source for finding information on
your local area, courses, volunteer opportunities, and free Internet for a limited amount
of time. Some libraries offer story times for young children.

Places of worship
Find by entering places of worship or more specific information with your postcode at:

Post offices
Post Offices: www.postoffice.co.uk
Royal Mail: www.royalmail.com
Helpline: 08457 223 344
The Royal Mail collects, sorts, delivers and transports the mail. The Post Offices

Welcome Guide

www.yell.com
www.findachurch.co.uk

26

Community
provide access to the Royal Mails services and also provides other functions
(see below). You can search for addresses, postage prices, postcodes, and more
on both sites.
To find the nearest Post Office, enter your postcode:
www.postoffice.co.uk/branch-finder
Post Offices are located in the newsagents on the high streets in most towns.
Generally, they are open 09:00-17:30 Monday-Friday (some close at 13:00 on
Wednesdays so check your branch), and 09:00-12:00 on Saturdays.
At the Post Office you can:
Buy postage stamps and send packages.
Pay household utility bills.
Pick up application forms to change car registration to UK.
Pick up application to obtain or transfer your driving licence.
Renew your road tax disc.
Exchange common foreign currencies. They dont charge a commission, but the
rate may be a bit high. They usually have $USD and Euros on hand and can order
other currencies.
Mail Boxes Etc.
www.mbe.co.uk/
Can be costly, but they can pack and ship items for you. They also offer express
mail services.

Womens clubs and other organisations


You may never have belonged to a club in your life and not think of yourself as a
joiner. However, contacting one of these organisations when you arrive in the UK
may make your adjustment smoother and easier. Membership in the North American
clubs is generally open to women holding a North American passport, women married
to holders of North American passports, or those who can show strong American
connections, such as children attending an American or international school.

27

A useful publication for expats in the UK is The American: The Transatlantic Magazine
(www.theamerican.co.uk). The American is a monthly magazine for the American
community in the UK and others who are interested in American culture. It has
articles relevant to expats in the UK as well as listings of many clubs and organisations.
Some of the clubs in the London area:
American Women of Surrey
www.awsurrey.org
Primarily American members, but also has members from Germany, Holland, Japan,
Canada, and right here from England. Men are also welcome. The group welcomes
and assists new families to the area and supports philanthropic projects both locally
and overseas.
American Womens Club of Berkshire and Surrey
www.awbs.org.uk
The AWBS International Womens Club is a not-for-profit, non-partisan club that
provides a welcome to individuals living in England. The club represents over 29
nationalities with the purpose of welcoming and assisting all newcomers and their
families through the relocation process, to promoting friendship and interaction
among members and to further their knowledge and understanding of England.
This organisation (AWBS) is open to all ACS families. It offers numerous social,
cultural, and charitable activities each month and is a great way to get involved.
The Common Ground magazine is published annually and lists all activities.
American Womens Club of London
www.awclondon.org

Austrian Club London


www.austrianclublondon.com
Established in 1984, in association with the Austrian Ambassador in London, to
maintain and upkeep the Austrian Spirit amongst the Austrian expatriates in
London and UK nationals with a strong bond to Austria. They offer events,
networking, and outings for all to enjoy and learn the Austrian way.

Welcome Guide

The American Womens Club of London (AWC) is a non-profit and volunteer-run


organization dedicated to providing a welcoming environment for American women
(and non-citizens with close ties to the US) residing in the UK. The AWC is nonpartisan and does not endorse any political or religious group or position.

28

Community
British-German Association
www.britishgermanassociation.org
Founded in 1949 to promote Anglo-German friendship. Membership is open to
anyone who enjoys German culture and is appreciative of a strong British-German
relationship. Members can enjoy social gatherings, cultural events, guest speakers,
and more (in London).
Canadian Womens Club
www.canadianwomenlondon.org
Calling all permanent and temporary Canadian expats! Enjoy a wide variety of
events and activities, participate in charitable projects, and best of all, meet other
Canadians in the area.
Chiltern American Womens Club (CWAC)
www.cawc.co.uk
This is a group whose primary objective is to welcome and assist newcomers and
their families in England.
Kensington and Chelsea Womens Club
info@kcwc.org
St. Johns Wood Womens Club
sjwwc.org
The St. Johns Wood Womens Club (SJWWC) is an activities-based social and civic
non-profit organisation promoting friendship through our many activities and social
events. We welcome citizens of all nationalities and are dedicated to enhancing the
London Experience for our members and their families. Most of our members live
in the northern section of London.
Currently, we sponsor 25+ activities per month, from September through June.
Activities include tennis, culinary arts, country walks, pub lunches, international
travel and many more to choose from. These activities are coordinated by member
volunteers, and all members are encouraged to sign up for as many as they choose.
Please check out our website, sjwwc.org for information about our activities and how
to become a member of the club. In addition, a weekly email is sent to all active
members, providing current updates on activities and items of interest. Please join us
wed love to welcome you to the SJWWC!

29

The Thames Valley American Womens Club


www.tvawc.com
TVAWC is similar to AWBS, but smaller.

Welcome Guide

For the complete listing of 32 clubs, check the Federation of International Womens
Associations in London (www.fiwal.org.uk/about-fiwal). The list includes associations
for Arab, Australian, Chilean, Turkish and New Zealand women. There is also the
Federation of American Womens Clubs Overseas (www.fawco.org).

30

Daily Life

31

Setting up a house in the UK


If you have moved from a very different climate, or one where household heating
systems are not consistent with what is most common in the UK, you may find the
following household items helpful. Most can be ordered from amazon.co.uk or found
locally at DIY stores, such as Homebase, garden centres or at your local ironmonger:
Radiator trays for setting on your radiator filled with water to increase humidity
levels in the house.
A radiator brush for cleaning in and behind radiators.
Shoe/boot mud scrapers for outside entry door to your house.
Wellington boots.
A water pitcher with filter (Brita) is recommended for drinking water.
Moisture absorbing rugs to put near doors leading outside.

Electricity/light bulbs/plugs
The electricity voltage in the UK is 240V.
Two types of light bulbs are sold in the UK (screw bottom and bayonet bottom).
Be sure to double-check the type of light bulb you need before you head to the store.
If you are coming from another European country, you will need to have adaptors
for your electrical items. The plugs have three prongs in the UK.

There is an old but great post on an expat site that can fill you in on
the transferability of all sorts of electronics from all over the world:
www.talk.uk-yankee.com/index.php?topic=12567.0

Household appliances
Please note that people who are moving are often willing to sell their household
appliances and other items for reasonable prices. Check the AWBS website for listings.

Welcome Guide

If you are coming from North America and bringing 110V appliances with you,
try to buy a step up/step down transformer in North America as they are much
cheaper and more readily available.

17
32

Daily Life
In the UK, most of the outlets will have a fuse in them. If your appliance stops
working, first try changing the fuse in the outlet and see if it works.
Dryers are often condensing dryers, meaning you will have to empty the water
out when its full (about once every few loads depending on size).

Hard water
The water in this area is quite hard.
You will need to add dishwasher salt to your dishwasher, unless you use the 3-in-1
dishwasher tablets, which include detergent, salt, and a rinse aid. This salt is available
at the grocery store and will be in the aisle with the cleaning supplies.
Certain appliances build up limescale and will need to be de-scaled on occasion to
work effectively. You can buy de-scaling packets at the grocery store in the aisle
with the cleaning supplies.
Many homes now have water softeners. Please ask you landlord/realtor for
guidance on proper tablets or salt blocks required by the machine. Most local
hardware stores will stock and deliver salt specifically made for water softeners.

Discounts/vouchers
www.discountvouchers.co.uk
www.groupon.co.uk
www.moneysavingexpert.com
www.vouchercodes.co.uk
Discount vouchers exist that you can print from the website or have emailed to you.
Many chain restaurants have 2-4-1 deals. They also have promotional codes for
online shopping sites, but you are required to provide them with your email address.
www.toptable.com
This website is great for reservations at restaurants in London. It also has good deals going
at many well-known and independent restaurants (see left-hand panel on home page).
www.lastminute.com
A useful site for finding discounted theatre tickets and hotels everywhere.

33

Passes/savings
English Heritage Membership
www.english-heritage.org.uk
With an annual or lifetime membership, exploring more than 400 castles, historic
homes, and ruins will be free. These include famous sites such as Dover Castle, the
Battle of Hastings Abbey and Battlefield, and Londons Chiswick House and Gardens.
Membership options and discount information is available on the English Heritage
website. If you have visitors coming, you might want to consider the English Heritage
Overseas Visitor Pass. For 20, this pass allows free entry to over 100 historic
attractions. The pass is available for a period of one or two weeks.
Historic Royal Palaces Pass
www.hrp.org.uk
Hundreds of years of royal history are waiting to be explored at Tower of London,
Kew Palace, Hampton Court Palace, Banqueting House, and Kensington Palace.
With a Historic Royal Palaces Pass you can gain entry to these five famous English
palaces as well as get into exclusive events such as rooftop tours of Hampton Court
Palace and the Ceremony of the Keys at Tower of London. More importantly, your
membership helps provide the funds needed to maintain some of Englands most
treasured history.
Legoland Annual Pass
www.legoland.co.uk
If you like the idea of an annual pass to Legoland, but dont want to invest in the
Merlin Pass, you are in luck. Legoland offers three different entry passes, the basic
annual pass, full annual pass, and lifetime pass. Discounts at the amusement parks
restaurants and shops are also part of the deal, as well as free entry to popular park
events such as Amazing Machines, Legoland Live, and fireworks shows.

This yearly pass buys entry to many top UK attractions including: Thorpe Park,
Legoland, the London Eye, London Aquarium, and Warwick Castle. Many of
these attractions are popular day outings with children. Make sure to read all the
important membership details on the Merlin Annual Pass website for information
pertaining to discounts on food and drink at participating area restaurants.

Welcome Guide

Merlin Annual Pass


www.merlinannualpass.co.uk

34

Daily Life
National Trust Membership
www.nationaltrust.org.uk
The National Trust offers an annual or lifetime membership, which includes free
entry and parking at more than 300 historic houses and gardens. Some of the more
notable venues include Bodiam Castle, Stonehenge, and the Beatrix Potter Gallery.
Check out the various membership options and even join the National Trust online.
Children under five go free to all properties. There is also a handy, free iPhone app
that, once loaded, can be used to locate any National Trust place in your area.
Student ID cards
www.ISICcard.com
This Student ID cards allow students to get discounts on the trains and at movie theatres.
They are also useful for travel abroad to get student prices at some museums and sites.
Windsor Great Park
www.windsorgreatpark.co.uk
If you enjoy walking, running, biking, or spending a day at the park feeding the ducks,
Windsor Great Park is the place to be. This thousand acre expanse of gardens, lakes
and woodlands is located just a few steps from ACS Egham. There are several
membership options, with one offering a discount at the Savill Garden Gift Shop.
The annual Car Park Pass can also be very valuable if you frequent these parks. This
card allows free parking at the following car parks: The Savill Garden, Wick Road,
Virginia Water, and Blacknest car park.
Windsor Castle:
www.royalcollection.org.uk/visit/windsorcastle
Remember to get your Windsor Castle ticket stamped before leaving the castle. This
allows free returns for twelve months when you show the original ticket and identification.

Tipping/gratuity
Knowing when to tip and how much can be just as confusing and awkward here in
the UK as it is in many places. Nowhere is it mandatory or expected that you leave
a tip. Some guidelines are:
Restaurants: It is customary to leave 1015% for extra good service. Many places
will add the gratuity on automatically to the bill. Read the fine print in the menu or
on your bill when you get it. (You are not required to pay this and can even ask that

35

it be removed). You arent expected to tip in a pub when you are ordering and paying
for your drinks at the bar. If you get exceptional service from your barman you can
leave the equivalent cost of a half pint.
Hairdressers: Not required, but if you wish to, you can either add on a few pounds
or opt for 10% of the services rendered.
Post Delivery Person, Rubbish Collector: It is not the custom to tip at Christmas time.
Taxi Drivers: Typically 10% of the fare.
If you happen to head over to France, a 15% tip is usually included in your bill at a
restaurant. In Germany, The Netherlands, Belgium and Switzerland you can add 5%
to your bill total, but rarely up to 10%.

Family days out


Be sure to visit www.dayoutwiththekids.co.uk. You can search by location to find all
sorts of things to do with the kids, be it near your house or for when you plan a trip
to another town or city. Of course, London is full of places to go and things to do,
too numerous to list here.

Castles & Museums


Hever Castle (Hever)
Leeds Castle (Kent near Maidstone)
Dover Castle (Dover, Kent)
Hampton Court Palace (Richmond)
The Museum of Army Flying (Stockbridge near Salisbury)
Warwick Castle (Warwickshire)
Brooklands Transportation Museum (Weybridge)

Welcome Guide

Theme Parks & Leisure Centres


Chessington World of Adventures
Thorpe Park
Legoland
Coral Reef (Closed for refurbishment and scheduled to re-open sometime in 2017)
Hillingdon Sports Leisure Complex
Jakes Indoor Play World
Jump In: Trampoline Park, Slough
Rush Trampoline Park, High Wycombe
Guildford Spectrum (Ice Skating, Bowling, Swimming)
Bracknell Ski Slope & Ice Rink

36

Daily Life
Windsor Castle (Windsor)
The Lightbox Art Gallery and Museum (Woking)
Animals & Nature
Look Out Discovery Centre (Bracknell)
Go Ape (Bracknell)
Savill Gardens/Virginia Water Park
Bocketts Farm Park (Fetcham near Leatherhead)
Kew Gardens (Richmond)
Odds Farm (High Wycombe)
Hobbledown (Epsom)

Weekend trip ideas


Accessible by car, Southwest Trains, Eurostar, Eurotunnel, and/or ferry:
Bath
Brighton, Portsmouth, West Wittering, other beaches
Cambridge
Cotswolds
Devon & Cornwall
English Heritage Properties (Various locations)
Isle of Wight
National Trust Properties (Various locations)
New Forest & Beaulieu
Oxford
Stonehenge, Salisbury, Avebury
Stratford-upon-Avon
York
Scotland & Wales
Belgium Brugge, Brussels
France Calais, Paris

Embassies
Embassy of the Republic of Angola
www.angola.org.uk
020 7299 9850
Argentine Embassy
www.argentine-embassy-uk.org
info@argentine-embassy-uk.org
020 7318 1300

37

Australian High Commission


www.uk.embassy.gov.au
020 7379 4334
Austrian Embassy
www.bmeia.gv.at/en/embassy/london.html
london-ob@bmeia.gv.at
020 7344 3250
Belgian Embassy
www.diplomatie.be/london/
020 7470 3700
Brazilian Embassy
www.brazil.org.uk
info.london@itamaraty.gov.br
020 7747 4500
Canadian High Commission
www.canadainternational.gc.ca/united_kingdom-royaume_uni/index.aspx
020 7004 6000
Colombian Embassy
londres.consulado.gov.co
elondres@cancilleria.gov.co
020 7637 9893
Embassy of the Czech Republic
www.mzv.cz/london/en
london@embassy.mzv.cz
020 7243 1115

Embassy of Ecuador
www.ecuadorembassyuk.org.uk
020 7584 1367

Welcome Guide

Embassy of Denmark
storbritannien.um.dk
020 7333 0200

38

Daily Life
Egyptian Embassy
www.egyptianconsulate.co.uk
info@egyptianconsulate.co.uk
020 7235 9777
French Embassy
www.ambafrance-uk.org/-English
020 70 73 1000
German Embassy
www.london.diplo.de
020 7824 1300
Greek Embassy
www.greekembassy.org.uk
020 7229 3850
High Commission of India
www.hcilondon.in
info.london@hcilondon.in
020 8629 5950
Indonesian Embassy
www.indonesianembassy.org.uk
020 7499 7661
Irish Embassy
www.dfa.ie/irish-embassy/great-britain
020 7235 2171
Israeli Embassy
embassies.gov.il/london
info@london.mfa.gov.il
020 7957 9500
Italian Embassy
www.amblondra.esteri.it/Ambasciata_Londra
ambasciata.londra@esteri.it
020 7312 2200

39

Japanese Embassy
www.uk.emb-japan.go.jp
info@ld.mofa.go.jp
020 7465 6500
High Commission for Pakistan
www.phclondon.org
visa@phclondon.org
020 7664 9200
Malaysian Embassy
www.jimlondon.net
020 7235 8033
Mexican Embassy
consulmex.sre.gob.mx/reinounido
020 7907 9442
Royal Netherlands Embassy
www.dutchembassyuk.org
lon@minbuza.nl
020 7590 3200
New Zealand High Commission
www.nzembassy.com/united-kingdom
aboutnz@newzealandhc.org.uk
020 7930 8422

Peruvian Embassy
www.peruembassy-uk.com
postmaster@peruembassy-uk.com
020 7235 3802
Poland
www.london.mfa.gov.pl
0207 2913 520

Welcome Guide

Nigeria High Commission


www.nigeriahc.org.uk/
020 7839 1244

40

Daily Life
Russian Consulate
rusemb.org.uk
info@rusemb.org.uk
020 7229 6412
South African High Commission
southafricahouseuk.com
020 7451 7299
South Korean Embassy
gbr.mofa.go.kr/english/eu/gbr/main
koreanembinuk@mofat.go.kr
020 7227 5500
Embassy of Switzerland
www.eda.admin.ch/london
020 7616 6000
Swedish Embassy
www.swedenabroad.com/en-GB/Embassies/London/
ambassaden.london@gov.se
020 7917 6400
Spain
www.exteriores.gob.es/Embajadas/LONDRES
020 7235 5555
United States Embassy
london.usembassy.gov
020 7499 9000
Venezuelan Embassy
reinounido.embajada.gov.ve
despacho.londres@mppre.gob.ve
020 7584-4206, 020 7581-2776

41

Conversions
Womens clothing
UK 8 10 12 14 16 18 20 22 24
USA

10

12

14

16

18

20

22

EUR

36

38

40

42

44

46

48

50

52

Mens shirts
UK/
USA 14

14.5 15

15.5 16

16.5 17

17.5 18

EUR 36

37

39

42

44

38

41

43

46

Womens shoes
UK
2.5
3 3.5
4 4.5
5 5.5
USA
5 5.5
6 6.5
7 7.5
8
EUR 35

35.5

36

37

37.5

38

38.5

UK
6 6.5
7 7.5
8
USA 8.5

9.5

10

10.5

EUR 39

40

41

42

43

Childrens shoes
UK
6 7 8 9 10
11 12 13 1 2 3

EUR 23

24

25

27

28

29

31

32

33

34

35

Please note that these charts are only guidelines and can vary depending on brand
and source.

Welcome Guide

US
7 8 9 10
11 12 13 1 2 3 4

42

Daily Life
Weight and measurement

43

Length
UK/
USA
1 inch

1 foot

1 yard

Metric 2.5 cm

30 cm

0.9 cm 1.6 km 1 cm

1 mile

.333 in. 39.37 in. 3.28 ft. .62 mile


1 m

To convert:

Multiply by

Inches to millimetres

25.4

Feet to metres

0.3048

Yards to metres

0.9144

Miles to kilometres

1.6093

1 m

1 km

Weight

American British

One cup

8 oz.

10 oz.

One pint

16 oz.

20 oz.

One tablespoon

oz.

1 oz.

US

Imperial

Metric

(Standard UK)

Flour


cup
cup
cup
1 cup

1 oz.
2 oz.
3 oz.
4 oz.

25 g
50 g
75 g
100 g

Icing sugar/cocoa/cornflour

1 cup

4-1/2 oz.

120 g

Butter/Sugar
(castor, granulated
or brown, firmly packed)

2 Tbsp.
1 oz.
cup
2 oz.
cup
4 oz.
cup
6 oz.
1 cup

25 g
50 g
100 g
175 g
225 g

Liquids/Cream/Yogurt



cup
cup
cup
1 cup
1 pint (2 cups)

2 fl. oz.
4 fl. oz.
6 fl. oz.
8 fl. oz.
16 fl. oz.

50 ml
100 ml
185 ml
250 ml
475 ml

Grated Cheese/Chopped Nuts

1 cup

4 oz.

100 g

Yeast

1 cake

oz. fresh

15 g

Temperature
Fahrenheit 32 41 50 59 68 77 86 95 104 140
Celsius 0 5 10
15 20
25
30
35 40
60

Boiling point of water = 100 Celsius, 212 Fahrenheit


Freezing point of water = 0 Celsius, 32 Fahrenheit

To Convert:
Celsius to Fahrenheit:
Fahrenheit to Celsius:

multiply by 9, divide by 5 and add 32


subtract 32, multiply by 5 and divide by 9

Gas mark 1

140

275-300

Gas mark 2

150

300

Gas mark 3

160

325

Gas mark 4

180

350

Gas mark 5

190

375

Gas mark 6

200

400

Gas mark 7

220

425

Welcome Guide

Cooking Temperatures Celsius Fahrenheit

44

Daily Life
Gas mark 8

230

450

Gas mark 9

260

500

All temperatures are the approximate equivalent.


Body Temperature
Normal body temperature is 98.6 Fahrenheit, which equals 37 Celsius.

American to British translation


Clothes
American English

British English

Pants Trousers
Underpants

Pants, or knickers for women,


Y-fronts, or boxers for men

Sweater Jumper/Pullover
Vest Waistcoat
Mens undershirt

Vest

Raincoat Mackintosh/Mac
Umbrella

Brolly (or umbrella)

Business suit

Lounge suit

Backpack/napsack Rucksack
Wallet Purse
Purse Handbag
Sneakers/gym shoes

Trainers/plimsoles

Rain boots

Wellies

Cleats Boots

45

Everyday phrases/Slang
American English

British English

One UK pound ()

A quid (slang)

Vacuuming Hoovering
Sports clothes and accessories

Sports kit

One of a kind

One off

Tired/wiped out

Knackered

Whine Whinge
Fanny Pack

Bum Bag

Foods
American English

British English

Eggplant Aubergine
Zucchini Courgette
Squash Marrow
Peanut oil

Groundnut oil

Baking soda

Bicarbonate of soda

Corn starch

Corn flour

Corn meal

Polenta

All purpose flour

Plain flour

Bread flour

Strong flour

Superfine sugar

Caster sugar

Welcome Guide

Ham Gammon

46

Daily Life
Powdered sugar/10X

Icing sugar

Molasses

Black treacle

Candy

Sweets or Sweeties

Cupcakes

Fairy cakes

Pie shell

Pastry case

Potato chips

Crisps

French fries

Chips or fries

Cookies Biscuits
Rolls (soft)

Baps

Popsicle

Ice lolly

Dessert

Pudding (general term for dessert)

Slice of bacon

Rasher of streaky bacon

Plastic wrap

Cling film

Wax paper

Grease proof paper

Garbage bag

Bin liner

Roast (of meat)

Joint (of meat)

Dish-washing soap

Washing-up liquid

Hamburger/Ground beef

Beef mince

Baked potato

Jacket potato

Jello Jelly

47

Household
American English

British English

First floor

Ground floor (entry level)

Second floor

First floor (one level up from ground)

Apartment Flat
Elevator Lift
Cooktop (just the burners)

Hob or stove

Faucets Taps
Living room

Lounge or sitting room, a drawing room


is a posh sitting room

Real estate agent

Estate agent

Furnace Boiler
Back yard

Garden

Trash can

Rubbish bin

Dumpster Skip
Unlisted number

Ex-directory

Jungle Gym

Climbing Frame

Rubbing Alcohol

Surgical Spirits

Driving/Vehicles/Transportation
American English

British English

Trunk of car

Boot

Hood of car

Bonnet

Welcome Guide

Garbage Rubbish

48

Daily Life
Highway (like an Interstate)

Motorway (M1, M2)

The Main Street

High Street

Divided highway

Dual carriageway

Traffic jam

Tailback

Yield

Give way

To pass (a car)

To overtake

License Plate number

Registration number

Sidewalk Pavement
Shoulder (of road)

Verge (on motorway hard shoulder)

Parking lot

Car park (multi-story, if its on levels)

Semi (truck)

Lorry

Station wagon

Estate car

Sedan Saloon
Trailer/camper Caravan
Gasoline Petrol
Subway Underground/tube

Banking/Shopping/Going to the Doctor


American English
British English

49

Shopping bag (plastic)

Carrier bag

Grocery cart

Trolley

Liquor store

Off-licence

Hardware Store

Ironmonger

Cashier Till
ATM Cashpoint
Gift certificate

Gift voucher

Checking account

Current account

Savings account

Deposit account

Deposit slip

Paying in slip

Family doctor

General practitioner (GP)

Doctors office

Doctors surgery

Emergency Room
Accident and Emergency Dept (A&E),
Casualty
Pharmacy Chemist
Band Aid

Plaster

Specialist Doctor

Their title is Mr not Doctor

General
American English

British English

(Power) outlet

Mains socket

Cellular phone

Mobile

First name

Christian name

Last name

Surname or Family name

Line of people

Queue

Mail box

Post box/letter box

Welcome Guide

Flashlight Torch

50

Daily Life
The line is busy

The line is engaged

Collect call

Reversed charge call

Vacation Holiday
One way/Round Trip

Single/Return

Restroom/Bathroom Toilet/Loo/Lavatory
Intermission Interval
Soccer

Football (also called footie)

Football

American football

Counterclockwise Anti-clockwise
Custom made

Bespoke

Wrench Spanner
Do the dishes

Do the washing up

Eraser Rubber

Reading list:
A Moveable Marriage by Robin Pascoe
American Cooking in England by Delora Jones
British Hotels Inns and Other Places by Alastair Sawday
Brit-Think Ameri-Think by Jane Walmsley
Notes from a Small Island by Bill Bryson
Raising Global Nomads by Robin Pascoe
The Good Pub Guide a must-have for pub goers www.thegoodpubguide.co.uk
Third Culture Kids by David Pollock and Ruth Van Reken
Watching the English by Kate Fox

51

Websites:

Welcome Guide

www.americaninbritain.co.uk www.expatwoman.com
www.austrianclublondon.com www.britishgermanassociation.org
www.canuckabroad.com www.deutsche-in-london.net
www.visitengland.com www.expatfocus.com
www.german-ymca.org.uk www.expatexchange.com

52

Healthcare

53

FOR ANY EMERGENCY DIAL 999 (Police, Fire, Ambulance)

National Health Service (NHS)


www.nhs.uk
The United Kingdom has a government subsidised National Health Service (NHS).
As a resident of the UK, you are entitled to use its services, which are provided to
you at little or no additional cost. These services include doctor care, dentistry,
specialist and hospital care, childcare clinics for children less than five years of
age, eye care and family planning as well as subsidised prescription fees.
The first thing to do is register with a doctor (local surgery) in your area. This will
involve filling out forms and providing some form of ID (i.e. passport). You are free
to register with any doctor, provided that you live in their area and the practices
quota of patients is not already full. Visit www.nhs.uk and put in your postal code
for a list of providers in your area. If you are not able to find a practice near you
with openings, contact your local Primary Care Trust for assistance. For Surrey
phone 02083 351 400. For Berkshire phone 01189 183 333.
Once youve registered with a local doctor, you are free to see him/her. If you need
to see a specialist, your GP will likely need to provide a referral.

EMERGENCY AND URGENT CARE SERVICE STEPS:


1. CALL 999: For immediate and urgent care (stated above).
2. CALL 111:
a. for fast non-emergency medical help.
b. if you think you need A & E or need another NHS urgent care service.
c. if you dont know who to call or you dont have GP to call.
d. if you need health information or reassurance about what to do next.

Helpful websites:
NHS Website: www.nhs.uk (general info about NHS services, nearest surgery).
NHS Direct Website: www.nhsdirect.nhs.uk (health, medical related info).

Welcome Guide

3. CALL your GP or Local Pharmacy.

54

Healthcare
NHS Direct Hotline: 111
NHS Direct operates a 24-hour nurse advice and health information service,
providing confidential information on:
What to do if you or your family is feeling ill.
Particular health conditions.
Local doctors, dentists or late night opening pharmacies.
Self help and support organisations.
Translation, if necessary.

Helpful terminology
Emergency Room

A&E (Accident & Emergency) or Casualty

Doctors Office

Surgery

Specialist Consultant, referred to as


Mr./Mrs./Ms., not Dr.
Pharmacy Chemist
Physical Therapy

Physio

Private health care


Private health care is also an option in the UK and private insurance is
often an employee benefit. It can also be purchased individually.
Check: www.privatehealth.co.uk
No emergency care is available at private hospitals.
It is more costly, but allows you to have control over when and where treatment
should take place and who should provide the service. You also avoid potential
waiting lists for non-emergency care.

55

Sometimes a specialist consultant treatment is only covered if referred by a GP,


so make sure to check your policy.
For information about both NHS and private health care: www.patient.co.uk
PLEASE NOTE: You do not have to choose a system, but can use both depending
on your needs.
If you have private health insurance, check your policy as sometimes travel
insurance is included.
It is very simple to set up private travel insurance for reasonable cost, either via
the private health insurers, the airlines (BA offers a yearly plan) or some booking
websites such as Expedia offer insurance either on a trip by trip basis or yearly.
As a UK resident you are entitled to medical treatment when visiting Europe
at a reduced cost or sometimes at no charge. You will need a European Health
Insurance Card (EHIC). This can be obtained free of charge at the EHIC website
www.nhs.uk/ehic/ or by calling 0845 605 0707.

Hospitals
To find the nearest hospital:
www.nhs.uk/Service-Search/Hospital/LocationSearch/8/Hospitals
Programme it into Favourites on your Sat Nav (satellite navigation) so you can find it
when you are stressed and in a hurry!

Paediatricians

DoctorNow
www.doctornow.org
01494 410888
24-hour private health service that can be used in case of emergency.

Welcome Guide

In the UK, most children see the GP for all routine visits and illnesses.
Paediatricians are considered specialists.

56

Healthcare
Night Doctor
www.nightdoctor.org.uk
0844 247 9990
A well-established private doctor service, that makes house calls, day or night. It is a
membership scheme, with a family joining fee of 250. Members have access to round
the clock care and consultation. If the patient requires further testing or consultation, the
Night Doctor staff member is equipped to refer them to a specialist and can also provide
a critical link for getting you or your child admitted into a private hospital, after hours.
24 hour global telephone service is available for when travelling, if needed.
Most international insurance plans will cover medical expenses, but most British
schemes do not. For a complete list of fees, check out the groups website.

Doctors
Go to www.nhs.uk to search by postcode for local surgery/doctor listings.

Dentists
Go to www.nhs.uk to search by postcode for local dentist listings.
Additional resources:
www.bda-findadentist.org.uk
www.nhs.uk/NHSEngland/Healthcosts/Pages/Dentalcosts.aspx
National Health Dentistry is free if when the treatment starts the patient is:
under age 18.
a full-time student under age 19.
a woman who is pregnant or has had a baby in the last 12 months.
staying in an NHS hospital and treatment is carried out by the hospital dentist.
an NHS hospital dental service outpatient (may have to pay for dentures or bridges).

57

NOTE: When you make a dentist appointment for a child, they do not automatically
clean the teeth. You will have to specifically request an appointment with a hygienist
to have your childs teeth cleaned and you will have to pay for this service. Also note
that there is no fluoride in the water locally.

Opticians
Go to www.nhs.uk/Service-Search/Opticians/LocationSearch/9 to search by postcode
Boots
www.bootsopticians.co.uk
0345 125 3752
Specsavers
www.specsavers.co.uk

Orthodontists
Search: www.nhs.uk/conditions/Orthodontics

Pharmacies/chemists
You may want to consider bringing over-the-counter medicines that you are familiar
with from your home country (eg Tylenol, Advil, childrens medicines etc).
Ibuprofen Nurofen, Cuprofen, or Brufen
Tylenol/acetaminophen Paracetamol, Panadol, Disprol, Tixymol, Calpol (Tixymol
and Calpol are for children and come in liquid form)
NOTE: Although all of these medicines are available over the counter (OTC),
you may have to ask your pharmacist for it. As always, read all labels.

www.yell.com
www.nhs.uk/service-search
Boots
www.boots.com

Welcome Guide

To find a chemist/pharmacist:

58

Healthcare
Lloyds
www.lloydspharmacy.com

Travel clinics
www.masta-travel-health.com (for clinic nearest you)
MASTA (British Airways Preferred Partner). Appointments highly recommended.
NOTE: You should visit a travel clinic 6-8 weeks before your departure.

Walk-in clinics
Go to www.nhs.uk to search by postcode for local walk-in centre listings.

59

Welcome Guide

Housing/Utilities

17
60

Housing/Utilities
Renting/buying finding housing
The Housing Office will be pleased to help you in finding a home within the area
served by the schools daily door-to-door school bus.
ACS Hillingdon Housing Officer
Phone: 01895 259771
Email: mhand@acs-england.co.uk
There is no multiple listing service in the UK as there is in some other countries,
so when you are looking for a house you will have to contact the local estate agents
for availability and pricing.
There are a few websites that list available houses from several estate agents:
www.primelocation.com
www.rightmove.co.uk
www.zoopla.com

Finding estate/letting agents


In the UK, the estate or letting agent is working for (commissioned by) the landlord
or property owner. Be aware that the agent is not necessarily working for your best
interest as a buyer or tenant. You can find reputable and professional agents from
the professional organisations listed below.
The National Association of Estate Agents (NAEA) is a professional organisation for
estate agents in the UK. Check their website for listings of local estate agents for
buying property: www.naea.co.uk
0844 387 0555
The Association of Residential Letting Agents (ARLA) is a professional organisation
for letting agents to rent property in the UK. Check their website for listings of local
letting agents: www.arla.co.uk
0844 387 0555
If you are renting in the UK, you will need to get permission from the landlord
to change utility providers. The landlord may also require that you change it
back when you move out, so make sure to confirm this before changing
providers for electric, gas, phone or water.

61

Area Councils
The local District Council Office is equivalent in the US to the Town Hall, and takes
care of community services such as garbage and recycling, building permission,
parking permits and schools. The Council is a good source of information for local
childrens clubs and playgroups.
You can find your local council by entering your postcode or street and town at:
www.gov.uk/find-your-local-council

Council Tax
Your local government levies council tax against your residence for public services.
Even if you are renting (from a private landlord), you are responsible for paying this tax.

Electricity
The standard electrical voltage in the UK is 240V and 50Hz, equivalent to 110V and
60Hz in the US. Understanding what is necessary to make your appliances work will
facilitate your decision-making. Check to see which of your appliances come with a
dual-voltage option (computers, battery chargers, etc.).
Check with a qualified electrician if you have any questions.

Converters: A device used to increase or decrease the voltage of an electrical


appliance. Converters are primarily used with personal care appliances, such as
rollers and hair dryers, which have a heating element. They can be used for anything
that does not have a motor and draws less than 1000 watts. Converters can be
unreliable and with long use may burn out the appliance, so you may prefer to use
a transformer.
Transformers: A device used to increase or decrease the voltage and the frequency
of the cycle currents of a motorised electrical appliance. It is necessary to change
an American appliance with 110V, 60Hz current to English use at 220/240V, 50Hz
transformers are available. The size you need depends on the wattage of the
appliance for which it will be used.

Welcome Guide

Adapters: An adapter allows you to plug an American appliance into an outlet in


Great Britain. Plug adapters are available for US equipment with special 110/240
(dual-voltage) capabilities. An adapter DOES NOT change the voltage. Therefore,
DO NOT use an adapter on any appliances with a motor without also using
a transformer.

62

Housing/Utilities
Do not use the lightweight (so called 1600W) chopper-converter units that are
widely available. They simply crop the top off the local voltage and leave a distorted
waveform that can upset or destroy electronic equipment such as hi-fis and
computers. Try to purchase these items in the US if at all possible. Many electronic
items (such as computers) now come with built-in transformers, so be sure that you
need one before you buy.
Transformer Supplier:
Maplin (electronics stores) www.maplin.co.uk
0333 400 9500

Phone services
Home Phone
If you are calling on a landline to a phone number in the same exchange, you do
not need to dial the exchange, just the last 6 digits.
To place an international call, dial 00 + country code + number.
The UK country code is 44.
If calling the UK from overseas, dial 44 and then the rest of the number except the
first 0. For example, to call ACS Hillingdon from overseas, dial 44 1895 259771.
Dial 118 500 for directory enquiries as offered by BT (there is a small fee charged
per minute).
There are several telephone providers other than BT. Be careful some companies
use a very aggressive approach to convince you to change services. They may call
and ask if you are interested in cheaper telephone rates and if you say yes, it could
be taken as a confirmation that you want to change telephone services.
Please note that the phone jacks in the UK may be different from the jacks in the
country that youre coming from and you may have to buy an adapter.
To compare phone services and international calling rates try www.niftylist.co.uk
British Telecom (BT)
www.bt.com
0800 100 400

63

BudgetCom
www.budgetcom.co.uk
020 3414 7567
With BudgetCom you can dial an access code and get reasonable rates. The charges
will be billed through your BT bill, but at the BudgetCom rates.
Talktalk
www.talktalk.co.uk
0800 0491 424
With Talktalk, you must continue to pay line rental to BT, but your international calls
will be cheaper. There is no monthly service fee. You just pay for the calls you make.
Virgin Media
www.virginmedia.com
0845 454 1111
Virgin currently offers the fastest broadband in the UK, but it isnt available in all areas
yet. You can choose your own bundle (phone, broadband, TV) and pay monthly.
Vodafone
www.vodafone.co.uk
08080 044 848
Offers broadband and telephone service.

Vonage uses VOIP (voice over internet protocol) using your broadband connection
to allow you to make and receive phone calls at favourable rates. You can create a
virtual phone line in your home country for 3.99 that goes directly to your landline
in the UK, which means your friends and family in your home country can call you
for free.

Welcome Guide

Vonage
www.vonage.co.uk
0800 008 6000

64

Housing/Utilities
Mobile phones
NOTE: It is illegal to use a handheld mobile phone while driving in the UK and
will result in a fine and points on your licence if caught.
There are many types of phones and service plans available (O2, Vodafone, Orange,
etc). You will need a bank account and a utility bill in your name before getting a
monthly payment plan. Another option is a pay as you go phone. The following
providers have retail shops:
Carphone Warehouse
www.carphonewarehouse.com
0800 049 6250
Carphone Warehouse sells many types of phones and you can sign up with the
provider of your choice. It is a good place to get missing pieces for phones.
02
www.o2.co.uk
08442 02 02 02
Orange (now part of EE)
www.orange.co.uk
0800 956 6000
EE
ee.co.uk
0800 956 6000
T-Mobile (now part of EE)
ee.co.uk
0800 956 6000
3 Mobile
www.three.co.uk
0800 358 4424
Virgin
www.virginmedia.com
0845 454 1111

65

Vodafone
www.vodafone.co.uk
0333 304 0191

Plumbing and heating


Landlords are responsible for making sure that gas fittings and flues are maintained
in good order, and gas appliances that they own in their residential premises, and
flues, are checked for safety every 12 months. They must also keep a record of the
safety checks for at least two years and issue it to existing tenants and any new
tenants before they move in. Be sure to have your boilers checked annually by a
Gas Safe (formerly CORGI) registered heating engineer. You can search for a
registered engineer in your area at: www.gassaferegister.co.uk

Removal companies
For moving your household items, contact the British Association of Removers for
local companies who are members:
www.bar.co.uk

Rubbish collection/recycling centres


Rubbish collection is once a week at the curb or end of your driveway. You will receive
a separate container for recycling (paper, steel, cans, and some boroughs will accept
plastic). The charges for rubbish collection are included in the council tax that you pay
each month (see council tax section).
No charge for disposing household waste or recyclables at recycling centres.
You must use your boroughs centres.

Your local council will correctly dispose of refrigerators, freezers, and TVs.
Your local council will also collect large rubbish items (refrigerators, etc.)
and have pest control units (wasps nests etc.) removed for a fee.
The council has an obligation to remove rubbish from the street if you ring them.

Welcome Guide

Garden waste, engine oil, car batteries, gas cylinders, and paints, etc. must be
disposed of at household waste sites.

66

Housing/Utilities
There are also recycling bins for glass, paper, cans, plastic and clothing in all of the
towns. They are usually in the towns car parks.
Search on www.recycle-more.co.uk to find recycling points close to where you
live and information on allowed items.
Check your local council website for more information pertaining to your area.

Television
All television owners require a TV Licence. You can check the current cost of a TV
Licence and apply for it on online at www.tvlicensing.co.uk. Yearly renewal notices
will come in the post.
All television signals are digital so if you have an older analogue television you
will require a converter box to connect to an aerial. There are over fifty television
channels available via Freeview in the area. If you want more channels, you can look
into Sky television (satellite) or Virgin Media cable (if it is available in your area).
BT Vision
Enjoy the benefits of Freeview and also add on access to their in-house library of
movies and television shows as well as Sky Sports.
www.bt.com
0800 100 400
ESPN America
www.espnamerica.com
Shows Major League Baseball, NFL, NHL, NBA, college basketball, etc. through Sky or
Virgin Media.
Sky customers: 0344 2411 653
Virgin Media customers: 0345 454 1111
Sky TV (satellite)
www.sky.co.uk
The leader in the UK for digital satellite offering over 700 channels in theme
packages such as Entertainment, News, Sports, and Movies.
0800 151 2747

67

Virgin Media
www.virginmedia.com
Virgin is the only digital cable provider in the UK offering a range of 45 to 160
channels as well as a few Sky options.
0845 454 1111
SO Computers and Satellites
www.sointegrations.co.uk
0845 680 3038
Independent satellite expert, specialising in installation and maintenance of most
European, Middle East, Asian and South American satellite Channels: Hotbird/Astra/
Nile sat/Hipasat/Thorn/Turksat.

Utilities (electricity, gas, water)


Affinity Water
www.affinitywater.co.uk
Non-emergency 0345 357 2401
Emergencies 0345 357 2407
British Gas
www.britishgas.co.uk
0800 048 0202
Emergencies 0800 111 999

NPower
www.npower.com
0800 073 3000
0330 100 3000
Emergencies 0800 111 999
Scottish Power
www.scottishpower.co.uk
0800 027 0072

Welcome Guide

E.ON (Electric & Gas)


www.eonenergy.com
0345 303 3040

68

Housing/Utilities
Southern Electric (also Gas)
www.sse.co.uk
0800 980 8476
South East Water
www.southeastwater.co.uk
0333 000 0247
Sutton and East Surrey Water
www.waterplc.com
01737 772000
Thames Water
www.thameswater.co.uk
0800 316 9800

69

Welcome Guide

Recreation

17
70

Recreation
Things to do
Time Out
www.timeout.com/london
Excellent source for ideas on things to do and where to eat. They have great features
such as Top 50 restaurants, 100 best shops, Cheap things to do in London.
Visit London
www.visitlondon.com
A great website for ideas of things to do, top attractions and special offers.
All for Kids UK
www.all4kidsuk.com
01707 659383
Places to go, hotels, tours, clothes, birthday parties, etc. Search by area or activity.
Day Out with the Kids
www.dayoutwiththekids.co.uk
A great site for finding things to do with the kids near your house or when you visit
another city.
Lets Go with the Children
www.letsgowiththechildren.co.uk
01252 368325
You can purchase an e-book detailing activities for kids in various locations.

American football
www.britishamericanfootball.org
07971 497792

Amusement parks
Chessington World of Adventures
www.chessington.com
Leatherhead Road, Chessington, KT9 2NE
0871 663 4477

71

Legoland
www.legoland.co.uk
Winkfield Road, Windsor, SL4 4AY
0871 222 2001
Merlin Annual Pass
merlinannualpass.co.uk
Annual pass with huge saving to South Easts leading attractions including Legoland
and Thorpe Park.
Thorpe Park
www.thorpepark.com
Staines Road, Chertsey, KT16 8PN
0871 663 1673

Baseball
Richmond Flames
www.richmondbaseball.co.uk
London Mets
www.londonmets.org
Baseball Softball UK
www.britishbaseball.org

Birthday parties
Most leisure centres, bowling alleys and movie theatres offer parties.

Chelsea Football Club


www.chelseafc.com/
Stamford Bridge, Fulham Road, London, SW6 1HS
0871 984 1955

Welcome Guide

Alexandra Palace Ice Rink


www.alexandrapalace.com
Alexandra Palace Way, London, N22 7AY
020 8365 2121

72

Recreation
Cookie Crumbles (Cooking parties)
www.cookiecrumbles.co.uk
020 8876 9912
Go Ape Trent Park
www.goape.co.uk/days-out/trent-park
Trent Country Park, Cockfosters Road,London, EN4 0PS
0843 770 4597
Hillingdon Sport and Leisure Complex
Gattling Way, Uxbridge UB8 1ES
0845 130 7324
Hobbledown (Childrens adventure and farm park in Epsom)
www.hobbledown.com
0843 289 4979
Rainforest Caf
www.therainforestcafe.co.uk/
20 Shaftsbury Avenue, Piccadilly Circus,London, W1D 7EU
020 7434 3111
Ripleys Believe It or Not! London
www.ripleyslondon.com/
The London Pavillion, 1 Piccadilly Circus,London, W1J 0DA
020 3238 0022
Royal Windsor (Drama and musical theatre parties)
www.theatreroyalwindsor.co.uk
River Street, Windsor, SL4 1PS
01753 853 888
Surbiton Raceway (Go-Karting)
www.surbiton-raceway.co.uk
0208 337 5550

Birthday party supplies


Parties R Us
www.partiesrus.co.uk
0161 776 5644

73

Partypieces
www.partypieces.co.uk
01635 201 844
(Founders of this online party supplier are the parents of Kate Middleton, wife of
Prince William).
As If By Magic
www.asifbymagicparty.co.uk
01344 885 585
The Entertainer
www.thetoyshop.com
0844 800 5100
Toys R Us
www.toysrus.co.uk

Bowling
www.dayoutwiththekids.co.uk/things-to-do-family/Uxbridge/Bowling-Alleys

Cinemas
Cineworld
www.cineworld.co.uk
Curzon
www.curzoncinemas.com
Empire
www.empirecinemas.co.uk

ODEON
www.odeon.co.uk
Picturehouse
www.picturehouses.co.uk

Welcome Guide

Everyman
www.everymancinema.com

74

Recreation
VUE Cinemas
www.myvue.com

Dance classes
Clare Andrews Dance Academy
Beaconsfiled
07903 657 998
Royal Academy of Dance (RAD)
www.rad.org.uk
Dance school in Battersea and you can also search for your nearest RAD teacher
Stagecoach
www.stagecoach.co.uk

Football
Local leisure centres and some health clubs may offer football classes for kids.
The Football Association
www.thefa.com/findaclub
Enter your postcode and select the options you required to find a list of local clubs
in your area.

Golf Courses
www.theaa.com/golf-course

Gymnastics classes
British Gymnastics
www.british-gymnastics.org/london
Find your nearest club, teacher and details of major events.

75

Health clubs, sports facilities, leisure centres


ACS Cobham
www.acs-schools.com/acs-cobham.aspx
Portsmouth Road, Cobham, Surrey KT11 1BL
01932 588 345
ACS Cobham, ACS Egham and ACS Hillingdon families are eligible to join the
Cobham Sports Centre, which includes gym facilities and the pool.
To find local fitness centres: www.thefitmap.co.uk

Horse riding
To find local riding centres that are British Horse Society (BHS) approved:
www.bhs.org.uk
02476 840 500
Hyde Park Stables
www.hydeparkstables.com/
63 Bathurst Mews, Paddington, London, W2 2SB
0207 723 2813
Ross Nye Stables
www.rossnyestables.co.uk/
8 Bathurst Mews, Paddington, London, W2 2SB
0207 262 3791

Ice skating and ice hockey


British Ice Hockey Association
www.britishicehockey.co.uk

National Ice Skating Association of Great Britain


www.iceskating.org.uk

Welcome Guide

English Ice Hockey Association


www.eiha.co.uk/

76

Recreation
Alexandra Palace Ice Rink/Haringey Junior Ice Hockey
www.alexandrapalace.com/ice-rink
www.haringeyhockey.co.uk
Alexandra Palace Way, London, N22 7AY
email: haringeyhockeyinfo@gmail.com
Lee Valley Ice Rink/Lee Valley Junior Ice Hockey
www.visitleevalley.org.uk/go/iceskating
www.leevalleylions.org.uk
Lee Valley Ice Centre, Lea Bridge Road, Leyton, London E10 7QL
020 8533 3155
Streatham Ice Rink/Streatham Junior Ice Hockey
www.better.org.uk/leisure/streatham-ice
www.streathamicehockey.com
390 Streatham High Road, Streatham SW16 6HX
020 8677 5758
Outdoor ice rinks
During the run up to Christmas and New Year, there are lots of outdoor ice rinks
including at National History Museum, Somerset House and Tower of London.

Moms & tots groups


Ask your local council (Child Service Information) for lists of baby and toddler groups
in your area.
The National Childbirth Trust has excellent information on all matters related to
early parenting and has links to clubs for parents of young children:
www.nct.uk.org
0300 330 0700

Music lessons
Many music lessons are offered at ACS. You will receive information at the beginning
of the school year. Contact the school music department for more information.

77

Rowing
Kingston Rowing Club
www.kingstonrc.co.uk
The Boathouse, Canbury Gardens, Lower Ham Road, Kingston Upon Thames KT2 5AU
Leander Club
www.leander.co.uk
Henley-on-Thames RG9 2LP
Molesey Boat Club
www.moleseyboatclub.org
Barge Walk, East Molesey KT8 9AJ
Walton Rowing Club
www.waltonrowingclub.co.uk
Sunbury Lane, Walton on Thames KT12 2JA

Rugby
Find Rugby Now
Find your local rugby clubs youth, mens and womens
www.findrugbynow.com/london/london-rugby-clubs/

Strategic games
The Games Workshop
www.games-workshop.com
0115 914 0000

Swimming and diving

London Aquatics Centre


http://queenelizabetholympicpark.co.uk
www.better.org.uk/leisure/london-aquatics-centre
Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, London E20 2ZQ
020 8536 3150
Home to the London 2012 Olympics.

Welcome Guide

Many health clubs and leisure centres offer swimming classes.

78

Recreation
Swimming.org
www.swimming.org/poolfinder
Find your local pool, swimming club and lessons
Serpentine Lido
www.royalparks.org.uk/parks/hyde-park/sport-in-hyde-park/serpentine-lido
020 7706 3422
A unique experience Londoners have been enjoying open air swimming in the Lido
for over 100 years.
Tom Daley Diving Academy
www.better.org.uk/promotions/tom-daley-diving-academy
Courses are being started at several pools in the London area.

Tennis
LTA Lawn Tennis Association
www.lta.org.uk
Find clubs, coaches, players and information on major tennis events.
London Tennis
www.londontennis.co.uk/
Find clubs, courts and tennis partners.
The Queens Club
www.queensclub.co.uk
Palliser Road, London W14 9EQ
020 7386 3400
Wimbledon Lawn Tennis Club
www.wimbledonltc.co.uk
The Wimbledon Club, Church Road, Wimbledon SW19 5AG
020 8971 8097
This is a local club and shouldnt be confused with the All England Tennis Club where
the Wimbledon tennis tournament is held.

79

Will To Win
www.willtowin.co.uk
Has 50 courts at several centres including Chiswick, Ealing, Hyde Park, Regents Park,
Greenwich Park, Richmond and Wandsworth.

Theatres
Official London Theatre
www.officiallondontheatre.co.uk
020 7557 6700
Get the latest kids and family theatre news, find out about child-friendly events,
and browse the show pages.
Time Out
www.timeout.com/london/kids/
0207 813 3000
Guide to arts, culture, movies, museum events, etc. Mostly in London.
There are also some great out-of-town theatres and here are a few of the favourites
from ACS Cobham and ACS Egham families.
These theatres usually do Pantomimes in the winter, a fun English tradition to do
with your children. A panto is a musical-comedy theatrical production based on
popular fairy tale stories.

Novello
2 High Street, Sunninghill, SL5 9NE
01344 620 881
They also do childrens birthday parties.

Welcome Guide

New Victorian Theatre


www.ambassadortickets.com
The Peacocks Centre, Woking, GU21 6GQ
0844 871 7615

80

Recreation
Theatre Royal Windsor
www.theatreroyalwindsor.co.uk
Thames Street, Windsor, SL4 1PS
01753 853 888
They also do childrens birthday parties.
Polka Theatre
www.polkatheatre.com
240 The Broadway, Wimbledon, London SW19 1SB
020 8543 4888
All the productions at this theatre are geared to children aged 0-13.

81

Welcome Guide

Restaurants

17
82

Restaurants
It is best to make a booking (reservation) for a restaurant if possible. Listed below are
websites for some family-friendly restaurants in the area. Also, some pubs do not
allow children or children may not be allowed after a certain time. It is best to check
first to make sure children are allowed before bringing them to a pub.

Favourite Restaurants
Bella Italia (Italian)
www.bellaitalia.co.uk
Carluccios (Italian)
www.carluccios.com
The Gourmet Burger Kitchen (Burgers)
www.gbk.co.uk
Pizza Express (Italian)
www.pizzaexpress.com
Wagamama (Japanese/Noodles)
www.wagamama.com
Zizzis (Italian)
www.zizzi.co.uk

Pizza Delivery
(Check to make sure they deliver to your area)
Dominos Pizza
www.dominos.co.uk
Papa Johns
www.papajohns.co.uk
Pizza Hut
www.pizzahut.co.uk

83

Beaconsfield
Achimi Japanese Restaurant
www.achimiteppanyaki.co.uk
54 London End, Beaconsfield, HP9 2JH
01494 673 077
Basmati
www.basmatibeaconsfield.com
43 Aylesbury End, Beaconsfield, HP9 1LU
01494 671 500
Beech House
www.beechhousebeaconsfield.co.uk
17 Penn Road, Beaconsfield, HP9 2PN
01494 842 166
Brasserie Blanc
www.brasserieblanc.com/restaurants/beaconsfield
41 London End, Beaconsfield, HP9 2HW
01494 685 960
China Diner
www.china-diner.co.uk
7 The Highway, Station Road, Beaconsfield, HP9 1QD
01494 673 345

The Crazy Bear


www.crazybeargroup.co.uk/beaconsfield
75 Wycombe End, Beaconsfield, HP9 1LX
01494 673 086
Greyhound Enoteca
www.greyhoundenoteca.com
33 Windsor End, Beaconsfield, HP9 2JN
01494 671 315

Welcome Guide

The Cape (Caf/Pub)


www.thecapeonline.com
6a Station Road, Beaconsfield, HP9 1NN
01494 681 137

17
84

Restaurants
Loch Fyne Restaurant (Fish & Seafood)
www.lochfyneseafoodandgrill.co.uk/locations/beaconsfield
70 London End, Beaconsfield, HP9 2JD
01494 679 960
Prezzo
www.prezzorestaurants.co.uk/restaurant/beaconsfield
12-14 Station Road, Beaconsfield, HP9 1NL
01494 671 976
Royal Saracens Head
www.theroyalsaracens.co.uk
6-8 London End, Beaconsfield, HP9 2JH
01494 674 119
Sajna Indian Cuisine
www.sajna-indian-beaconsfield.co.uk
Burkes Court, Station Road, Beaconsfield, HP9 1QR
01494 730 022
Smith & Kittle (Caf)
www.smithandkittle.co.uk
2 Station Parade, Beaconsfield, HP9 2PB
01494 672 100
Stixbar (Tapas)
www.stixbar.co.uk
3 Warwick Road, Beaconsfield, HP9 2PE
01494 672 182

Gerrards Cross
Di Paolo (Italian)
www.dipaolo.co.uk
22-24 Oak End Way, Gerrards Cross, SL9 8BR
01753 880 300
Fego Caffe
www.fegocaffe.co.uk
12G Pilgrim Walk, Packhorse Road, Gerrards Cross, SL9 7QE
01753 892 566

85

Jack & Alice


www.jackandalice.co.uk
40 Packhorse Road, Gerrards Cross, SL9 8EB
01753 885 215

Welcome Guide

Three Oaks
www.thethreeoaksgx.co.uk
Austenwood Lane, Gerrards Cross, SL9 8NL
01753 899 016

86

Services/Businesses

87

Babysitters/nanny/childcare agencies
American Women of Berkshire and Surrey (AWBS) members have access to a list
of babysitters by area on the AWBS website (www.awbs.org.uk).
Allbairns
www.allbairns.com
01494 793889
Greycoat Placements
www.greycoatplacements.co.uk
020 7233 9950
Mortimer Nannies
www.mortimernannies.co.uk
07793 502 483
Sitters Babysitting Agency
www.sitters.co.uk
08447 367 367
Smileys Childcare Agency
www.smileys-childcare.co.uk
0845 201 1630

Banking
Banking information:
A deposit slip in the UK is called a paying-in-slip.

Opening a bank account in the UK can be more difficult than one may expect.
Make sure you come prepared. Bring along a picture ID, proof of residence (at least
one utility bill or other document with your UK address), six months worth of prior
bank statements, and even a marriage certificate (if opening a joint account).
If your bank card is lost or stolen, you cannot get an immediate replacement.
The bank card must be posted to you, which can take 3-5 working days.
If your spouse was the first to open the bank account and you wish to be added,
please be patient, the process can take a couple of weeks.

Welcome Guide

To write a British cheque: the first line is for the payee, the second line is for
pounds, the third line is for pence.

88

Services/Businesses
NOTARY The process of getting documents notarised is not as quick in the UK
as you may be used to in your home country. You have to make an appointment
locally, then the documents are sent to London (or you can drive them and wait
in line there).

Cash Bank PLC


Cash Bank PLC 05/14

Pay

72-07-07
27380826

ACS School PTO

Only

seventy-five pence
27380826

Sort Code
14

0468

Jane E Smith

Account No.
12378921

01

Cash Bank PLC


Cash Bank PLC 05/14

Pay

72-07-07
27380826

ACS School PTO

Only

27380826

Sort Code
14

0468

Date

2 May 2014

80.00

Eighty pounds only


Cheque No.

2 May 2014

80.75

Eighty pounds and


Cheque No.

Date

Jane E Smith

Account No.
12378921

01

Note: The 1st line is for the payee, 2nd line for pounds, and 3rd line for pence.
Barclays
www.barclays.co.uk
Citibank
www.citibank.co.uk
Halifax
www.halifax.co.uk
HSBC
www.hsbc.co.uk

89

Lloyds
www.lloydsbank.com
NatWest
www.natwest.com
Santander
www.santander.co.uk

Car valeting
Finesse Detailing
www.finessedetailinguk.co.uk
07711 905 868
Finesse Detailing provides a professional and reliable mobile vehicle valeting service.
They offer a wide range of services and will come to your home or office.

Cross-Cultural Training
Mobus Consulting
www.mobusconsulting.com

Furniture Rental
davidphillips.com
08451 088 088

Insurance companies

Aviva
www.aviva.co.uk
0800 015 6227
Direct Line
www.directline.com
0345 246 3761

Welcome Guide

Halifax
www.halifax.co.uk/insurance
0345 246 3564

90

Services/Businesses
Quantum
www.quantumplc.com
020 3137 5087
Service Insurance Bureau (SIB)
www.serviceinsurance.co.uk
01252 329 772
Online Quotes from Several Carriers
www.confused.com
www.gocompare.com

Newsagents
Newsagents are located on the High Streets in most towns. If you want to have
home delivery of a newspaper, check with your local newsagent to see if you can
get on the delivery list.

Online directories
www.yell.com
Online yellow pages
www.locallife.co.uk
Online guide for everything in your local area (search by city or post code)

Passport photos (including US size)


There are photo booths in many large supermarkets.
Snappy Snaps
www.snappysnaps.co.uk
0161 946 6219

Pets
If youre planning on bringing a pet with you when you move to the UK, please be
aware that this involves many rules and regulations, possibly including quarantine.
Read up on the rules so everything goes as smoothly as possible. The information
also applies to pets leaving and returning to the UK, for example if you want
to take your dog with you on holiday to France. The Department for Food

91

Environment and Rural Affairs has all the information you need. The website is
ww2.defra.gov.uk/wildlife-pets/pets/travel or call the hotline at +44 (0)370 241 1710.

Pet insurance
Dog insurance is recommended in the UK as bills for infections and injuries can
run quite high. Check with your vet for more information on insurance.

Dog walking/training
Association of Pet Dog Trainers
www.apdt.co.uk
01285 810 811
A respected organisation that guarantees the quality of its member trainers.
You can search for a trainer in your area.

Travel insurance
Even if you have private health insurance, travel insurance in the UK is important.
If you miss a flight because of illness, you will have to forfeit your entire holiday if
you do not have travel insurance. It is often better to buy an annual policy through your
insurance company than to buy it through the holiday provider each time you travel.
Check with your bank to see if you have or can get travel insurance with your account.
www.confused.com
Provides quotes from various providers.

Post Office

Travel insurance is one of the many services offered by the Post Office. You can buy
annual or single-trip insurance.

Welcome Guide

www.postoffice.co.uk
0345 611 2970

92

Shopping

93

Antique markets
Portobello Market
www.portobelloroad.co.uk
The worlds largest antiques market open every Saturday (7am 5pm), shops open
six days a week. Portobello Road is three kilometres west of Marble Arch and easy to
reach by road or underground from anywhere in London. There are two underground
stations: Ladbroke Grove (Hammersmith & City Lines) or Notting Hill Gate (Central,
Circle and District Lines). The following buses stop in or near the market: 7, 12, 23, 27,
28, 31, 70, 94 and 328.

Areas for shopping


London
Some of the many different areas to visit for specific needs include:
London electronics area Tottenham Court Road
London jewellery district Hatton Garden (Holborn Tube) www.hattongarden.com
London department stores Oxford and Regent Streets, Knightsbridge area
Designer shops Old and New Bond Streets and Sloane Street area
Small fashion/boutiques streets around Covent Garden and Carnaby Street
Bespoke tailoring Piccadilly, Jermyn Street and Savile Row
Music shops the mega stores, also the Soho area
Bookshops Waterstones and WH Smith, also old book shops on Charing Cross Road

Bentall Centre indoor mall in Kingston, www.thebentallcentre.com


London Markets
Borough Market
www.boroughmarket.org.uk
020 7407 1002

Welcome Guide

Westfield Mall indoor mall, Westfield.com

17
94

Shopping
Borough Market is Londons oldest food market. It is on the south bank of the
Thames and has a long and distinguished history as a wholesale fruit and vegetable
market. Borough Market is busy, noisy and bustling with wonderful produce. It is best
to go early and bring a large, strong bag or shopping trolley. If you are not familiar
with the produce on the stalls, or you are not sure how to cook it, just ask the
traders will be delighted to tell you about their specialities. Check out the website
for a breakdown of the important areas. Scandelicious has a stall at Borough Market
where they sell freshly prepared Scandinavian dishes on Fridays and Saturdays.
The Market is a bit of a maze, but exploration yields delicious rewards!
Thursdays: 11am5pm
Fridays: 12pm6pm
Saturdays: 8am5pm
Brick Lane Markets
www.sundayupmarket.co.uk
020 7770 6028
Sunday UpMarket over 140 stalls selling fashion, accessories, crafts, undoubtedly
one of Londons most exciting and imaginative markets. The market is in the Old
Truman Brewery and the many things you will find are one-off bespoke items
produced by the stallholders themselves. You can find everything from edgy
womens wear, customised mens clothing, high fashion, and beautifully-tailored
childrens clothes to handmade jewellery. UpMarkets famous food area includes
Ethiopian hand roasted coffee, Turkish specialities, lovely Moroccan dishes, Spanish
paellas and empanadas, hand-rolled sushi (done in front of you), Japanese sweets,
and savoury pancake, Carrom Cafes lassi, chai and Indian street snacks, Thai and
Caribbean food, etc.
Sundays: 10am-5pm
Elys Yard (entrances on Brick Lane & Hanbury Street)
www.trumanbrewery.com/
www.bricklanemarket.com/events/elys_yard/EY.html
The Old Truman Brewery, London E1 (Aldgate East/Liverpool Street Tube)
020 7770 6000
The Backyard Market with almost 100 stalls; jewellery, clothing, accessories, arts
and crafts, food and more, this market has breathed new life into a once derelict and
unassuming warehouse on Brick Lane since 2006.

95

Broadway Market
www.broadwaymarket.co.uk
Broadway Market in London E8 runs from London Fields to Regents Canal. It is a
section of a pedestrian and cycle-friendly route from Hackney Empire, past London
Fields station and throughout the park. Bethnal Green is the nearest tube station.
Food: African, French, English, Caribbean. Fashion: Hats, shoes and frocks. The
inventive come for the retro and vintage pieces. There is plenty for grown-ups and
lots of pretty stuff for babies. The neighbourhood is home to a warren of tiny studios
and galleries; the arts charity space houses 60 artists in its Mare Street building
alone. Exhibitions appear suddenly watch for the posters, especially in the summer.
Spitalfields Market
www.spitalfields.co.uk
In addition to the many shops and places to eat:
Arts Market set on Market Street in Spitalfields, the Spitalfields Arts Market is a
great place to browse and buy affordable art direct from established and up and
coming artists; runs from the first Thursday through to the Sunday of each month.
In November and December the Arts Market runs every week up to Christmas.
Spitalfields Traders Market the stalls range from contemporary and vintage
fashion, music, bespoke childrens toys, jewellery and accessories and interiors
for the home. The market is also surrounded by a host of independent boutiques,
food shops and restaurants. Plus you have the Old Spitalfields Market right next
door. The Traders Market has up to 110 stalls on its busiest days. Held under
the cover of Foster & Partners elegant glass canopy in Crispin Place, Spitalfields
Traders Market is weatherproof and wheelchair and pushchair accessible.
Five minutes walk from Liverpool Street Station.

Columbia Road Flower Market


www.columbiaroad.info
Green-fingered shoppers are spoilt for choice at the Columbia Road Flower Market
in Londons East End. Every Sunday morning, lively traders fill the narrow Victorian
street with their colourful plants and flowers. Visit at around 1pm for the best
bargains. Columbia Road, London E2 7NN (Tube: Old Street or Bethnal Green).

Welcome Guide

Tuesday-Friday:10am-4pm
Sunday: 9am-5pm

Sunday: 8am-2pm

96

Shopping
Portobello Market (see Antiques)
Western International Market
www.westerninternational.co.uk
Hayes Road, Southall, Middlesex UB2 5XJ
Sunday: 07.00-15.30 (approx)
The Sunday Market has been operating successfully for many years now. It is open
to the general public from 7am and closes at approximately 3.30pm. The market
sells a huge variety of fruit and vegetables, clothes, kitchenwares, jewellery and
bedding, all at very reasonable prices.

Camping/skiing/hiking stores
Cotswold Outdoor
www.cotswoldoutdoor.com
Field & Trek
www.fieldandtrek.com
Millets
www.millets.co.uk

Childrens clothing
www.gap.co.uk
www.next.co.uk
www.hm.com/gb
www.monsoon.co.uk
www.polarnopyret.co.uk
www.boden.co.uk
www.zara.com

Childrens toys
Early Learning Centre
www.earlylearningcentre.co.uk
The Entertainer
www.theentertainer.com

97

Toys R Us
www.toysrus.co.uk

Craft shops
Hobbycraft
www.hobbycraft.co.uk
0330 026 1400

Do It Yourself (DIY)
B&Q
www.diy.com
Homebase
www.homebase.co.uk
Wickes
www.wickes.co.uk

Electrical appliance stores


Argos
www.argos.co.uk
Catalogue store easiest to shop online
Currys
www.currys.co.uk

Farmers markets
The following websites provide listings of farmers markets in your area, just enter
your postcode:
www.farmshop.uk.com
www.localfoods.org.uk/home

Welcome Guide

Robert Dyas
www.robertdyas.co.uk

98

Shopping
Gifts
House portraits Our English Home
lise.jolly@hotmail.co.uk
07894 342 698
Keep your familys memories of their time in England alive with a lovely painting
of the home you have here. They also make wonderful presents for friends who are
about to return home. Visit Lises website to see some of the homes she has painted
recently. Youll also see her paintings of some ACS buildings.

Grocery stores
Please note that in the UK you pack your own groceries in some stores and you
are encouraged to bring your own bags. All stores charge .05 for a bag, even retail
stores. You will need a 1 coin deposit to use a shopping trolley at some stores.
If you have a Maestro (Switch) or Solo card (debit card from a local bank), you can
get up to 50 cash back at grocery stores. Most stores close at 4:00pm on Sundays.
Many stores offer online shopping and a 7-day delivery service, please check their
websites for specific details.
Asda
www.asda.co.uk
UK version of Wal-mart.
Budgens
www.budgens.com
Marks and Spencer Food
www.marksandspencer.com
Morrisons
www.morrisons.com
Sainsburys
www.sainsburys.co.uk
Tesco
www.tesco.com

99

Waitrose
www.waitrose.com
Ocado
www.ocado.com
Costco
www.costco.co.uk
Membership required to shop here; check website for membership rules.

Specialty food
Abel and Cole
www.abelandcole.co.uk
08452 626262
Online ordering and delivery of organic produce, dairy items and meat along with
wine/spirits and all natural household products.
American Sweets
www.americansweets.co.uk
It is much more than sweets! Store sells healthy cereals, barbecue sauce, salad
dressing, cooking ingredients, Wheat Thins, and many more American food staples.
Usually minimal to free delivery charge depending on how much you order.
Cybercandy
www.cybercandy.co.uk
Covent Garden & Brighton
0845 838 0958

Dairy Crest
www.dairycrest.co.uk
0845 606 3606
Home delivery of milk and other dairy products. NOTE: In England, milk is not
fortified with vitamin D, which aids in the absorption of calcium.

Welcome Guide

Multicultural food and candy products from different countries.

100

Shopping
Goodness Direct
www.goodnessdirect.co.uk
0871 871 6611
Online fresh, eco and organic shopping (groceries and other household products).
Free delivery with purchases over 35.
Riverford Farms
www.riverford.co.uk
01803 227 227
Organic home delivery.
Skyco
www.skyco.uk.com
01483 776 444
Specialises in delivering American products.

Home furnishings
IKEA
www.ikea.com/gb/en/
020 3645 0000
Huge home furnishing store at reasonable prices.
John Lewis
www.johnlewis.com

Paper goods/stationery
Not on The High Street
www.notonthehighstreet.com
Paper goods and stationery as well as stylish and contemporary speciality gifts and
personalised items.
Paperchase
www.paperchase.co.uk
Multiple locations, cards, pens, wrapping paper, ribbons.

101

Smythson of Bond Street


www.smythson.com
Londons finest personal stationery, diaries, desk accessories.
WH Smith
www.whsmith.co.uk

School supplies
Ryman Stationer
www.ryman.co.uk
Staples
www.staples.co.uk
WH Smith
www.whsmith.co.uk

Sheet music and instruments


ABC Music
www.abcmusic.co.uk
01372 466 195
Brittens Music
www.brittensmusic.co.uk
01892 526 659

Sporting goods/apparel

Sweaty Betty (Womens work out clothing)


www.sweatybetty.com
Sports Direct
www.sportsdirect.com

Welcome Guide

JD Sports
www.jdsports.co.uk

102

Transport

Transport

103

Driving
Driving your car in the UK can be quite challenging. Purchase the Highway Code
(details all the rules and regulations of driving in the UK) or access it online via
www.direct.gov.uk under travel and transport. You can also get Know Your Traffic
Signs from your local newsagent or the AA.
Purchase an A-to-Z Street Directory of your area at a local bookstore or newsagent.
Beware of the traffic cameras! There are lots of speeding cameras installed and
violations are recorded on your licence. If you get too many points, you could
lose your licence.
Helpful websites for driving and directions:
www.maps.google.co.uk
www.bing.com/maps
www.theaa.com
www.highways.gov.uk (info about roadworks and motorways)
GPS/Navigation Systems are very helpful when driving in the UK. If your car doesnt
come equipped with one, you may want to consider buying a portable device.
To drive your own car in the UK, you will need the following:
Valid driving license.
Automobile insurance.
Registration.
MOT. The purpose of the MOT is to ensure that your car complies with key
roadworthiness and environmental requirements. Once a car is three years old,
it must have an MOT every year. Many garages do MOT testing which takes about
an hour; look for one with an MOT sign.

Welcome Guide

Vehicle tax all cars in the UK must have vehicle tax. www.gov.uk/vehicle-tax

104

Transport
General driving tips
Even if you dont need to take the tests in order to get a UK Driving License,
it is a good idea to purchase and study the Official Highway Code (www.gov.uk/
browse/driving/highway-code) along with a Know Your Traffic Signs (www.gov.uk/
government/publications/know-your-traffic-signs) or you can purchase printed
copies of both from a bookstore or newsagent.
Beware of the traffic cameras! They love to catch speeders, and if you get too
many points, you could lose your license.
www.highways.gov.uk is a great site for info about road works and motorways,
including up-to-date traffic information.

Driving licence
The body that regulates matters related to obtaining your licence, registering
or transferring your car is the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) at
www.dvla.gov.uk. For more general information: www.gov.uk/browse/driving.
By law, you must get a licence within 12 months of your arrival.
If you have a US licence, you will need to take both the written theory test and
a road test to obtain a UK licence.
When you come to live in the UK you can use your US licence or a US International
Driving Permit (IDP) for one year, starting on the date you arrived with the
intention of taking up residency. After one year, you are driving illegally, and
your Motor Insurance may declare your coverage void.
Commonwealth countries can exchange their drivers licence for a UK licence
without doing a test in the first two years of residency in the UK.
European Community (EC) and European Economic Area (EEA) licences are valid
with the option to exchange them for a UK licence. Obtain a Driver Vehicle and
Licensing Agency (DVLA) form reference D100 from a Post Office for more
specific information.
PLEASE CONSULT THE DVLA WEBSITE FOR UP-TO-DATE AND EXTENSIVE
INFORMATION MEETING YOUR SPECIFIC REQUIREMENTS.
The process of getting a UK licence takes 3-6 months:

105

Apply for a UK Provisional Licence (applications can be obtained from any post office).
The process takes 10-14 days and you must provide a passport with your application
as proof of identity, so planning ahead around travel schedules is important.
Book a Theory Test appointment once you receive your Provisional Licence.
(0300 200 1122 or at www.direct.gov.uk/motoring).
The Theory Test is a computerised touch-screen test, where the minimum pass
mark is 43 correct answers out of 50 questions, plus a Hazard Perception Test,
which monitors your reactions to video footage of developing hazards.
To prepare for the test you should get an up to date Highway Code, a book with
current DSA Theory Test Question Bank and a CD-ROM simulating the Hazard
Perception Test. Buy these in most bookshops or borrow them from a friend.
The website noted above also offers an interactive mock test. This is very helpful
to get familiar with the test questions and format.
Book a Practical (Road) Test appointment after passing Theory Test (same contact
details as above).
This driving test is taken with a DSA Observer who scores your performance
while driving on local streets and executing basic manoeuvres. The test is
about 40 minutes and includes driving through typical roundabouts, pedestrian
crossings, etc. You will be asked to perform two of three basic manoeuvres: a
reverse turn, a reverse turn around a corner, and parallel park (reverse parking)
behind a car, but not between two cars. It will include a simple vision test, car
safety/maintenance checks and may include an emergency stop manoeuvre.
Driving lessons from a licenced instructor are strongly recommended to help
prepare for the driving test. Instructors teach UK driving rules and coach on how
to pass the actual test.

AA (Automobile Association) Driving School


www.theaa.com
0330 100 7470
BSM (British School of Motoring)
www.bsm.co.uk
0330 100 7500

Welcome Guide

Driving instructors

106

Transport
International Drivers Service
www.internationaldriversservice.com
020 8570 9190
Focuses on the expat community.
Elmbridge Driving School
www.elmbridgeautomatic.co.uk
020 8224 9911
Automatic and manual lessons. If you own a large car you can use their small and
easy to operate cars.

Auto insurance
Insurance Comparison Sites:
Service Insurance Bureau (SIB)
www.serviceinsurance.co.uk
01252 329 772
Free advice and insurance comparisons from independent intermediaries authorised
and regulated by the Financial Services Authority.
There are also websites that provide insurance comparisons and quotes:
www.gocompare.com
www.confused.com
Geico
www.geico.com/information/aboutinsurance/overseas
Geico International has locations in UK, but will only insure with a US licence and the
intention to return to the US.

Breakdown insurance
AA (Automobile Association)
www.theaa.com
0800 316 2456

107

RAC (Royal Automobile Club)


www.rac.co.uk
0330 159 1111

Car servicing/repairs
National Vehicle Servicing
www.nationalvehicleservicing.com
0870 850 6651
They will come to your house to service your car.
Kwik-Fit
www.kwik-fit.com
0800 222 1111
They are experts in automotive parts repair and replacement including tyres,
exhausts, brakes and MOT testing. Several locations in the area, including
(check website for local stores).
Halfords
www.halfords.com
A retail store selling automotive supplies, including bulbs, batteries, tools, sat navs
and car seats. They will do simple repairs and MOTs. Check the website for locations
near you.

Many car parks use the Pay & Display system to pay for parking. Drive into the car
park, park your car and then go to the Pay & Display machine. Pay for the amount of
time that you think youll be staying, and then put the sticker on the drivers window
(on the inside) or on the dashboard. Parking violations are monitored carefully so
make sure the parking time is not exceeded, even in store parking garages when the
free time is limited. In many locations you can pay the charge over the phone by
providing your plate number and location. Instructions can be lengthy, but once
signed up, repeat parking is easier.
Parking on the side of the road is allowed at certain times on a SINGLE YELLOW line
and never on a DOUBLE YELLOW line. The rules vary from borough to borough, but
generally parking is free on a single yellow line after 6:30pm and on Sundays.

Welcome Guide

Parking

108

Transport
London Congestion Charge
Transport for London imposes a charge per weekday on most vehicles being used in
Central London. You pay for the charge for the day and can drive within the charging
zone as often as you want within that day. Details, maps and charging zones can be
found on:
www.tfl.gov.uk/modes/driving/congestion-charge
How does it work?
If your journey takes you into the charging zone (signed with a large letter C in a
red circle) you can either pay in advance, pay before midnight that day, or, for a small
surcharge, pay before midnight the following charging day. Map of charging zone:
content.tfl.gov.uk/congestion-charge-zone-map.pdf
Zone operates:
7:00am to 6:00pm weekdays excluding bank and public holidays
Pay online: www.tfl.gov.uk/modes/driving/congestion-charge
A network of cameras reads vehicle number plates as you enter, drive around and
leave the zone. Any vehicle recorded as having been in the zone during charging
hours but where no daily charge has been paid by midnight the following charging
day must pay a penalty charge.

Tips for driving on the European continent


If you are going to drive on the Continent, get full coverage (UK plus continent) when
purchasing car insurance and include breakdown coverage. It is less expensive for the
whole year than buying it a week at a time.
Visit www.theaa.com to learn the rules for each country. Most of the items listed
below are required for each country and can be purchased at the Euro Tunnel shop or
at Halfords.
GB sticker on the rear of the vehicle if you do not have GB on your registration
(license) plate.
Headlight beam adjustments for driving on the right.
Warning triangle and fire extinguisher.

109

First aid kit.


Spare bulbs (all lights must be in working order).
Eurotunnel
www.eurotunnel.com
08443 35 35 35 Reservations and ticket information
Vehicle passage from the UK (Folkestone) into France (Calais)

Airports
Check for flight arrival and departure information:
www.gatwickairport.com
www.heathrowairport.com
www.southamptonairport.com
www.stanstedairport.com
www.london-luton.co.uk
www.londoncityairport.com

Airport Parking
APH parking
www.aph.com
01342 859 442
They will provide several quotes including a Meet and Greet service which will valet
park your car for you.

Public transport
The network of trains and buses is extensive and gets you safely and reliably to most
destinations. Some bus lines within Surrey run throughout the night. It is helpful to
have a tube map at hand and you can use the journey planner feature on the
Transport for London website:

Welcome Guide

Flypark
www.flypark.co.uk
0871 360 2443

www.tfl.gov.uk

110

Transport
The Tube has an app for smart phones that will provide live schedule information and
journey planning.
The best way to pay for your journey is with the Oyster Card, which is a pre-paid
card that can be purchased at most Kiosks that display the Oyster sign. There is a
5 deposit and the card can be filled with funds to use on future travel. The card
gets swiped at the various entry and exit barriers and funds automatically deducted.
Information on the Oyster card and online ordering can be found online at:
https://oyster.tfl.gov.uk/oyster
Most bus and tram travel is free for children under 16 and at a reduced rate for
students up to 18; their Oyster card needs to be signed by the school and students
will need to carry a photo ID. More information on the various types of Oyster cards
can be found at the web address above.
Biking in Central London
A major bike rental scheme has been established under the name Santander Cycles.
Many pick-up and drop-off locations (docking stations) allow for easy commute and
are a fun alternative to driving or public transport. The scheme has been highly
successful, particularly in congested areas. The scheme is operated by Transport for
London and all information can be found at:
www.tfl.gov.uk/modes/cycling
Rail Services
General Information:
A one-way ticket is called a single journey.
A round trip ticket is called a return ticket.
When going into London, you can buy a day travelcard which you can use on the
train, the underground, and buses for the day. Tickets are much cheaper if you arrive
in London after 10:00am and leave after 7:00pm.
This journey planner website is great for when you want to include train stations
and underground stops:
journeyplanner.tfl.gov.uk

111

National Rail
www.nationalrail.co.uk
The UKs domestic rail network
Eurostar
www.eurostar.com
Eurostar a service from St. Pancras or Ebbsfleet (in Kent) to the Continent (thats
what the British call Europe). The most popular destinations are Paris and Brussels,
but there are many new services and new ones are constantly being added.
Family and Friends Railcard
www.familyandfriends-railcard.co.uk
Riding the rails across Britain can be even more economical with the annual Family
and Friends Railcard. It can save a family up to one-third off adult fares and 60 percent
off child fares. Anyone travelling with a child who is between five and 15 years old is
eligible. There are some savings restrictions during peak train travel times.
Network Rail Card
www.network-railcard.co.uk
A Network Railcard gives you one third off most rail fares for journeys in the
Network Railcard area and can also save you money on trips to and around London.
The Network Railcard costs 30 (in 2016) and is valid for 12 months.

Car rentals
Be sure to specify an automatic transmission car if thats what you prefer and book
well in advance for large cars. The usual international car rental services are available
at airports and city centre locations. Some smaller local services offer good value.

For short-term rental needs, such as shopping or airport trips, you may be able to
use Zipcar.
Budget Car and Van Rental
www.budget.co.uk

Welcome Guide

Zipcar
www.zipcar.co.uk

112

Transport
Currie Motors Car and Van Hire
www.curriemotors.co.uk/car-van-hire
Free Collection and delivery.
Enterprise Rent A Car
www.enterprise.co.uk
Free Pick up Service.

Taxis/private car services


In the London area there are black cabs which are licensed taxis and minicabs
which are private hire taxis that may or may not be licensed. Check www.tfl.gov.uk
for listings of all licensed taxis.
Black cabs may be hailed on the street or picked up at taxi ranks. They will have a
meter showing the fare. While they will typically be more expensive than minicabs,
they are carefully monitored for safe and knowledgeable drivers.
Minicabs must be booked in advance or in person at their place of business. They do
not have meters, so the fare should be agreed upon in advance. If a minicab driver
approaches you on the street, do not take the ride. It may well be an unlicensed cab
and may be unsafe. The CABWISE text message campaign provides a safe way to find
a taxi anywhere. By texting home to 60835, you will receive a text reply with the
numbers of one taxi and two local licensed minicab companies.

113

Culture Shock
I didnt expect it
to be SO different.

How to survive

culture
shock
Source: www.tvawc.com

Welcome Guide

The kids are homesick.

17
114

Culture shock
How to survive culture shock
One website with great articles on this topic is www.expatexpert.com. It is the
home of Robin Pascoe, a wonderful writer and speaker on expat joys and challenges.
Read her books or hear her speak if you have the opportunity.
Culture shock and its stages
Culture shock is a label for the disorientation and related feelings of anxiety and
stress an individual experiences when moving from one culture to another. It has
become an important area of study as society becomes increasingly globally mobile.
Those who move from culture to culture will feel some degree of culture shock.
Therefore, it is important to understand its dynamics in order to best support
yourself and your family towards successful adjustment to your new environment.
What are the stages, or symptoms, of culture shock? What does culture shock look
like? Symptoms fall into four general categories:
Stage one, often called the honeymoon stage, is marked by excited anticipation.
During this stage, you experience pleasant symptoms of excitement at being in a new
place with interesting and new things to do and see. Some people never progress past
this initial stage of exhilaration in being abroad. These people spend their entire stay
in a state of mild euphoria, behaving like permanent tourists: travelling to new and
wonderful places, forming friendships exclusively with other expatriates, and
maintaining their old lifestyle. For most, however, the honeymoon period passes
and they move on to the second and most problematic stage of culture shock.
Stage two is marked by discouragement, doubt, apathy, and a generally negative
attitude toward England. Your conversations during this stage tend to concentrate
on the things you cant buy, the things you have to do without, and all the things the
British do wrong (which means differently). This can be thought of as the flight
stage because one often thinks about leaving England during this time.
Stage three is a stage of immersion. With perseverance, you will arrive at it often by
the end of the first year. You are now learning the cues of English culture and seldom
experience that old sense of disorientation. You have met and socialised with English
neighbours or co-workers, might have taken a course in English history, and discover
British vocabulary and pronunciation creeping into your speech. You are becoming
immersed in the English way of life, rather than standing on the outside, critically
looking in.
The fourth and final stage of cultural adjustment is marked by full participation in the
English way of life. Now you rarely find yourself thinking in categories of them and

115

us. This is the final stage of adjustment. You are now functionally and emotionally
adjusted to life in England and are living with the ease you experienced before the move.
Treatment
The treatment of culture shock applies to two stages the flight stage, which is the
most uncomfortable part of adjustment. The coping behaviours you choose during
this period may determine the tone of the rest of your stay in England.
Crisis experts say that an individual undergoing stress following a change, such as a
move to another culture, will seek to resolve their state of unbalance within a four
to six week period the average length of time one will tolerate this anxiety. It is
not uncommon for people to react with negative coping behaviours that do not
serve them well in the long run. Examples would be social withdrawal, chronic
complaining, or even alcoholism. It is therefore critical to take inventory of your
consciously or unconsciously chosen coping mechanisms and select those that
promote a positive, long-term lifestyle.

Secondly, try to fend off feelings of depression by taking concrete measures to adapt.
For example, familiarise yourself with your surroundings. Keep your explorations
local and leave the rest of London and England until later. Buy maps of your locality
and trace some of the routes on foot; read local newspapers, clip addresses, file some
away, and visit others. Familiarise yourself with your surroundings in an emotional
sense too. Chat with a local shopkeeper; have a cup of tea at the local coffee shop
to do some subtle people watching; become a regular reader of the notice board at
your local library and join one of the activities listed there. This goes beyond the
intellectual task of homework and requires doing, which further builds up your
self-image as one who competently negotiates British daily life. Local explorations
can also be made into fun outings for the family to enjoy.
Another way to get the better of down feelings is to establish a goal and take steps
to achieve it. Have you ever wanted to study art, learn a second language, develop a
green thumb, hike regularly in the countryside, and collect antiques? A constructive
activity is like a reward for more frustrating aspects of cultural adjustment.

Welcome Guide

One of the first and easiest steps in the treatment of culture shock can begin before
you arrive, but certainly any time subsequently. Get as much information as you can
about England, its customs, history, climate, and so on. Also, acquire basic information
before you need it: contact a doctor and dentist before the need arises; familiarise
yourself with emergency medical procedures; plan the steps to take if your car breaks
down; learn about public transportation, This step is called doing your homework.
By doing homework on England in general and preparing for specific family emergencies,
you begin to build basic confidence in your ability to function here.

116

Culture shock
Eventually, you will develop a workable philosophy about your stay in England.
Hopefully it will include enthusiasm (Its a wonderful country and Im lucky to be
here.) and opportunism (Im going to take advantage of this once-in-a-lifetime
chance!). You want to do more than survive you can choose to thrive!
Family culture shock
Moving away from home, familiar surroundings, and the support network of family
and friends puts the entire family into a state of imbalance. The roles in a marriage
often change, especially if one spouse leaves work to follow anothers career
advancement. There is often realignment on parental responsibilities as well,
which may initially result in feelings of resentment or anger.
It is especially important during this first year to practice open and on-going
communication between all family members. It is important, also, that children
be allowed to talk about uncomfortable emotions such as anger, frustration, and
resentment, to minimise any inappropriate acting out and displacement of these
feelings outside of the home.
Children
Children live in the here and now. Until about age 12 children arent able to distance
themselves from their environment as adults can. Children need to appreciate and like
their environment for healthy self-development. Therefore, try not to share with them
your negative reactions to the new culture. This will only serve to alienate children in
the sole world they feel they occupy; it will inhibit their unfolding self-identity that
requires identifying with the culture they are in now. A child needs to love his world
and himself in it during early stages of personal development.
Preschool age
Be aware that although adult life includes what goes on outside the home, a
preschoolers life centres on whats going on inside the home. S/he is very affected
by a parents mood and the changes in behaviour of other family members. This is a
good time to keep a stiff upper lip and contain your own depression and frustration
to a time when little ones are asleep or otherwise occupied. The preschoolers culture
is in the home, where cultural cues come from YOU.
School age children/teenagers
School age children often share the honeymoon stage with the parents but will
progress to the next stage of culture shock once differences become frustrating.
They too are impacted by the atmosphere at home, but less so as they live within
a school environment as well.

117

It is not unusual for teenagers to be initially angry about and rebel against the
move. They are more rooted in life with their peers and social life in high school than
their younger siblings. You may observe teenagers retreating into their rooms with
headphones on as a way of withdrawing from their new environment. However, over
time and with appropriate parental support, open communication, and patience, they
will soon be bragging to their friends back home about their new life in England.
Good news and bad news
The good news is that there is an end to family culture shock; the bad news is that the
only way past it is to go through it. As a parent, be prepared for a tough six months.
The following are suggestions for parents to help ease the way for their children.
Practice patience, patience, and patience to listen to and communicate with
children much more than before.
Do explain culture shock and its stages to them whatever their age adults often
underestimate childrens understanding.
Make it safe for your children to express their anger or other so-called negative
feelings so their unhappiness wont be displaced in inappropriate places outside
the home (such as acting out in school when before your child had no history
of this type of behaviour).
Be available as much as possible at first. Be careful not to leave your children with
a sitter too often until they become used to their new environment and caregivers.

Create as much stability as possible. Routines are important, and as soon as


possible establish another family life rhythm. Again, be available to talk to your
children about whats new and different in their environment and answer any
questions. Do stick with your child-rearing values and be sure to establish a
foothold with them from the beginning.
Do help your children create friendships whenever possible by organising play
dates and outings that will bring children together.
If you feel your child, children, or family are not adjusting to the new environment
over a reasonable time period, do not hesitate to find professional help. There is no

Welcome Guide

Do not deny the existence of culture shock. If you are a perfectionist whose ideal
does not allow for an adjustment period, then you may set your family up for
being stuck in a problematic stage of culture shock. Although some children
seem to sail through changes, others do not, and denying their sensitivity to
these changes could actually prolong the flight stage.

118

Culture shock
shame or stigma to seeking outside counselling; often much can be accomplished
within relatively few hours with an objective, trained professional. There is no
reason you have to unnecessarily experience on-going stress seek relief!
Remember the school counsellors are there to help also.
Dont expect yourself to be the perfect parent during this time. Do your best,
remain flexible, and keep a sense of humour.
In conclusion
Just remember, you will experience many ups and downs during your time here in the
UK just as you would have done wherever you lived. But by keeping an open mind
and developing a willingness to see things not as bad or good but as different
you will find that the positive aspects of expat life can far outweigh any negatives.
You will now be living in a community where everyone has been a newcomer, and
they are more than willing to answer your questions, offer advice, and help you
and your family settle in to your new life here. Dont be shy about asking questions
(no question is stupid or silly), or asking for help. This is the beginning of a new
adventure for you and your family and we wish you every success.
Source: www.tvawc.com

119

Welcome Guide

Notes

120

Notes

121

122

Welcome Guide